Even Though It Be A Cross That Raises Me

The view from the top of Angel's Landing. Zion National Park, Utah.
The view from the top of Angel’s Landing. Zion National Park, Utah.

The hymn, “Nearer My God to Thee”, has always been a favorite hymn of mine. Ironically, it wasn’t until recent years I really began to understand it.

Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to thee;
Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

I’ve often heard the phrase that everyone has their cross to bear, but I just couldn’t really internalize what that meant, or why some people could say it with peace, patience, and even appreciation for the trial they were going through. I mean, some of what these people were going through, I considered unbearable.

I had someone close to me tell me of a deep trial they were enduring. One that would be with them for the rest of their lives. It gave me a new perspective on commitment to living God’s laws. It helped me to better understand the scripture that talks about giving up our lives in order to have life.

Romans 8:13

13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Recently, I have faced some difficult personal challenges. Some of these challenges have taken the form of intense mental torment and anguish. Some of the challenges have been excruciatingly physical. These things drive me to prayer to beg for God’s help to overcome. The challenges continue still, but the thing that I’ve found is that as I am humble, pray, and read God’s words, I am given the gift to endure.

“E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me.” I am discovering that it is my own weaknesses and trials that are helping me to touch the lives of others. My trials, and the search to find answers for myself, are helping me reach out in turn, to help others who are struggling.

I find my ability to endure, is directly related to how frequently and sincerely I seek my Father in Heaven, and Savior, Jesus Christ. I’ve often wondered how just reading the scriptures and praying can do so much to help me, and the answer is – I don’t know. I only know that the more I take the cross I bear to Jesus, the more he helps me carry it.

It may be that one day the cross I carry will be lifted for good. I only know that, in part, it is my cross that has raised me up in prayer to seek the one who died on the cross for me. Because of his cross, and because of his prayers, Jesus bears my unbearable burdens. With him, I can face all the dark nights and the days red with pain.

Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!
E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to thee;
Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
Yet in my dreams I’d be
Nearer, my God, to thee;
Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

There let the way appear, steps unto heaven;
All that thou sendest me, in mercy given;
Angels to beckon me
Nearer, my God, to thee;
Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

Then, with my waking thoughts bright with thy praise,
Out of my stony griefs Bethel I’ll raise;
So by my woes to be
Nearer, my God, to thee;
Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

Or if, on joyful wing cleaving the sky,
Sun, moon, and stars forgot, upward I fly,
Still all my song shall be,
Nearer, my God, to thee;
Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee!

– Sarah Adams

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