Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross dailyand follow me (Luke 9:23, NIV).
Jesus joins us in our human difficulties at the point which we dislike ourselvesthe most. – Thomas Keating, OCSO
I’m a city girl. Hiking shoes were not on my shoetree as a little girl – patent leather Mary Janes were. So when I went hiking on a trail along Split Rock River the day after Easter, I encountered rather large amounts of unpleasant, wet mud on the trail. Even though the day was sunny and warm, the ground betrayed the fact that the spring thaw was still under way, and the melted snow had not yet been absorbed into the saturated ground.
It was, in a word, messy.
I avoided the mud by skirting along the edges of the trail and holding onto tree limbs for balance. Avoidance was not always an option. Sometimes there was no other way but through the mud. Once the mud was so deep and sticky that it sucked my shoe right off.
Blech!Steep places along the trail meant climbing without sold ground for traction. Rock and the protruding roots of trees helped me make it through those spots.Our faith life can be like that messy trail. We want to answer God’s call, but we want a neat and pretty journey. We want to be redeemed, but we do not want the pain that goes with it. Jesus is clear that believing in Him is a dirty job that will take us through the mud. Sometimes we may lose a shoe or fall flat on our faces. There will be challenging times when we don’t think we can keep going because the trail is too steep and too slippery.Jesus never takes us where He has not gone first, nor will He abandon us in our struggle. When we feel discouraged or anxious, Jesus joins us in our struggle, becoming the tree root or the rock that gives us firm footing and stability. Jesus does this because He loves us.When believing becomes a dirty job, we must stay rooted in Christ’s love, and use those roots to climb forward, to keep going.
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.View all of Sister Ann Marie’s blogs.