I’m going to tell you a story. This is a story all about how my life got twisted-turned upside down. You ready my Fresh Prince fam? Here goes.
Over the course of 3 years, we lost everything. Well, nearly everything. Somehow, we kept our house. Miracle. And our cars. Miracle on miracle. And we were all still alive. BEST MIRACLE OF ALL. We were livin’ on a miracle and there were some days I felt, well, PUT UPON, you know? Maybe some toe-tapping, asking God, “Ok God, I didn’t ask for any of this. What are you doing to me? When will you stop picking on me?”
On the last Good Friday of those 3 years, I read Mark 15, as one does. This chapter is a rough, rocky, downhill slide. It starts with Jesus, who is schemed against to His last breath, being brought before Pilate for sentencing. It blows through His torture, hits at His crucifixion, and ends with the sealing of the tomb. It’s all solemnly witnessed by the women who loved Him most. The weight of this chapter is nearly too much to bear.
But this Good Friday, my attention stuck on one particular verse. A verse kind of thrown in the text for good measure; one of those details you throw into a story so people know you were there. Mark 15:21 says, “A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.”
Well. Poor Simon.
But as I sat with this seemingly small verse, I felt the holy weight of God surround those words. A man who was just walking home was plucked from obscurity to aid the perfect Savior of the universe to His death so that all mankind could know redemption, love, and glory. A man, minding his own business, happens upon Jesus at this moment, and as a result his name is divinely recorded, and history is changed forever.
I reflected back on the sufferings I had endured in recent history and wondered, “Am I Simon?” Could God have allowed my history to slam into His for the purpose of moving something forward with holy intent?
We are made for a great purpose. Jeremiah 32:19 promises, “great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve.”
Did you catch that? God knows all, sees all, hears all and controls all. And still He chooses to REWARD US.
How does it feel to be connected to something bigger than yourself? To know you’re bringing value and a service to someone else? Studies and personal experience will say that it feels like a really good reward.
So imagine being Simon, this man who came out of nowhere, who was chosen by God in His infinite wisdom and planning to help usher the precious Savior to a death that would change humanity for all time. Imagine the weight of that service transferred through the weight of the cross he was carrying. What a reward.
Friend, I don’t know where you are today, but I would ask you that if you are going through something heavy and feel put upon, would you look up and ask God if instead you are being asked to be Simon today? Are you being rewarded with a responsibility of great proportions?
What can you help carry forward today?