The cross that He gave may be heavy

The cross that He gave may be heavy,
  But it ne’er outweighs His grace;
The storm that I feared may surround me,
  But it ne’er excludes His face.
  The cross is not greater than His grace,
The storm cannot hide His blessed face;
  I am satisfied to know
  That with Jesus here below,
    I can conquer every foe.
The thorns in my path are not sharper
  Than composed His crown for me;
The cup that I drink not more bitter
  Than He drank in Gethsemane.
The light of His love shineth brighter,
  As it falls on paths of woe;
The toil of my work groweth lighter,
  As I stoop to raise the low.
His will I have joy in fulfilling,
  As I’m walking in His sight;
My trials more blessings are bringing,
  Christ in them is my delight.
Steve Miller

Detroit, MI, United States

Ballington was the 2nd son of William and Catherine Booth, the founders of the Salvation Army. Ballington and his wife, Maud Charlesworth, were eventually in charge of the Salvation Army operations in the U.S. After disagreeing with his father over the authoritarian character of the Army, he resigned and established the Volunteers of America, an organization similar to the Salvation Army but with a more democratic structure. - Songs of the Spirit by Martin

Question: Does the cross become heavier or deeper?

Answer: There is a hymn that says, "The cross that He gave may be heavy, / But it ne'er outweighs His grace" (Hymns, #722). This kind of utterance is not scriptural; we cannot find it in the Bible. In experience, however, this utterance is correct. This is like the experience Madame Guyon describes in her book Fragrance of Myrrh. However, we must carefully study this saying, because it has too much of the Catholic background. Catholicism understands the cross as a suffering, and this concept has spread to Christianity in China; thus, many Christians also regard the cross as a suffering.

Thomas a Kempis once said that if we remove one cross, we will receive a heavier one. How many crosses are there? There is only one cross; there are not many crosses. From the experience of the Mystics, the expression that a Kempis used is correct but not scriptural. From the perspective of the truth, there is only one cross. The Mystics had such an experience because they loved the Lord, earnestly desired the Lord, absolutely put themselves aside, and let the Lord reign in them. However, they did not receive the light that we see. They considered their wives, their superiors, and the leading ones in the church as crosses. How this differs from the light the Lord has given us! The thought that the cross becomes heavier is the result of insufficient light concerning the cross. The work of the cross can be deeper but not heavier; only suffering is heavier.

We need to be clear that suffering is not the cross. Both the Catholic Church and Christianity think that the cross is a suffering. However, even though suffering and the cross are somewhat related, suffering is not the cross. The cross is for our termination. When Christ puts the demand of the cross in us, His intention is to terminate us; He requires us to surrender to Him. When He shows us that certain aspects of our personality are too strong, the cross requires us to be broken; however, we may be unwilling to submit. Then He must use an outward environment of suffering to intensify the light of the cross in us, to the extent that we will surrender and completely yield to Him. Even though we should surrender and be broken, we may be unwilling; even though we know that the Lord has an inward demand, we may be unwilling to obey. At such times the Lord will raise up the environment to deal with us, to compel us, and to defeat us. This is the reason Catholics say that the cross is a suffering. However, the cross itself is not a suffering. When we are unwilling to submit to the demand of the cross, God uses the outward environment as a means to help us. God uses the light of the cross inwardly and the dealing of the environment outwardly to subdue us. In brief, the cross is the inward light; the suffering is the outward environment.