Imagine: already He has suffered verbal and physical battering, a scourging that has flayed His back into ribbons, and thorns skewered into His brow. And now His bleeding body must carry the heavy, rugged tool that is to ensure His death. He must drag it up through the streets of Jerusalem as He is slammed with bloodthirsty screams, knowing that escape from this agony is not yet at hand.
I have often wondered what part of His Passion Christ found the most difficult. And I believe it must have been the carrying of His cross.
I think I understand why, if only a little. As I find find myself carrying my weaknesses, I see how far I have come, but I also see how much farther I have to go. I can’t help but wonder if I will make it, for the road looks impossibly steep, and I continually stumble and cut my knees on sharp stones, barely able to pick myself up again. I am bleeding, bruised, struggling to remember why I should not give up.
And yet, somehow, hope is a smoking flame that refuses to be snuffed out. I cling to the promise that my weaknesses will eventually be put to death on that faraway hilltop—and then, only then, will my strengths rise. This promise was made by He who walked the Way before me, carrying the weaknesses of the world, who died only to rise in a glory that far surpassed His suffering.
He is the reason I do not give up. I am not suffering alone. No, He suffered first that I may unite my suffering with His.