This brief paper concerns the disciples’ cross in relation to physical disorders or other of life’s uninvited trials as characterized by the Apostle Paul’s "thorn in the flesh." (See 2 Cor. 12:7-10)
The saints along with other members of the human race experience the besetting ills and vicissitudes of life. Some may look upon these trials as an imposed cross which they must bear. This, however, is not the case for the cross to the child of God is never something forced upon him.
The Lord Jesus went willingly to the cross for us. For Him, it was the place of death and as an act of total surrender He urged His followers to "take up the cross," but let us be clear, it is something to be deliberately done not a condition forced upon us.
On the other hand, however, when out of love and obedience to our Lord and Savior we respond to life’s trials by embracing them as God’s way of helping us to be like Him this may certainly be understood as "taking up the cross." Suffering can be a useful means of grace in any believer’s life. Resignation to imposed problems is usually indicative of a humble heart.
The example of Paul in dealing with his "thorn in the flesh" demonstrates what we are saying. It was apparently a physical condition that was thrust upon him and one at first he was reluctant to accept. But when he saw it for what it was, a means of drawing him closer to the Lord, he embraced it.
The difference lies in the attitude. If there is conscious acceptance of this condition as being from the Father’s hand and as designed for our growth in holiness, it would seem that we then are obediently following the Lord. If there is chaffing, murmuring and other evidence of a lack of resignation it cannot be termed a cross.
The proof that we have taken up the cross of Christ will be a resultant life of resurrection power and usefulness. (Phil.3:10)
Ex. Christianna Tsai "Queen of the Dark Chamber"