Text Illustrations
Do we have that fire in the belly to carry our cross when things get tough?


The other day (Thursday), I met a Marine Sergeant who is recuperating from wounds he received about 14 months ago. The explosion damaged multiple vertebrae, his left hip, and parts of his legs. His entire left side absorbed a large portion of the blast, and his fellow Marines, who were also injured, pulled him out of the vehicle to safety. He has difficulty standing or sitting for long periods of time, and usually has to alternate between those positions as the pain increases. He’s been told he’ll suffer from chronic pain for the rest of his life.


That morning at the hospital, they had their annual POW-MIA 5-K Run. This sergeant completed it. He said he shuffled through the three miles with his cane in about 52 minutes.


To this sergeant, and many others, being a Marine means completing the mission despite any obstacles, pushing yourself past where others would quit, always keeping the goal in mind and pressing ever forward, one small step at a time until you reach victory. This sergeant’s goal wasn’t to come in first place; that would be impossible. His goal was to finish the race and not come in last. And he was successful.


That’s also a model for discipleship. Picking up our cross each day is painful. There are times when we’d rather quit and join our friends who seem to be having a good time doing what we know as Christians we should not be doing.