I lay there for a moment to ponder. Did he hit it with his rod? Or throw salt in it, or a branch? I didn’t have time to look it up, so while making breakfast and going to the market and canning cherries, I wondered. I thought of circumstances I didn’t like, situations that made life in Ukraine hard to swallow. I made a mental list. What was God trying to say? Could He still turn bitter water into sweet?
While the girls napped, I looked it up. Exodus 15:25: “Then he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree; and he threw it into the waters, and the waters became sweet.”
I thought of another tree, the cross of Jesus. I wrote down everything I didn’t like in Ukraine and thought, How does the cross apply to this? Can the cross make my bitter waters sweet?
-Inconveniences: It wasn’t convenient for Christ to leave heaven and die for us.
-Sporadic water: Jesus said, “I thirst.”
-Crowds at the market: Jesus died for them.
-Carrying heavy bags home from the market: Jesus carried a cross.
-Language barrier: Jesus left a position of power to become a helpless baby.
-The dirt and smells: Jesus left a place of beauty for a sin-ruined world. He walked dusty roads and lived in cities without indoor plumbing.
-Separation from family: Jesus was separated from the Father, so we might have fellowship.
-Mundane housework: Jesus was homeless.
-Some don’t accept us: Not everyone liked Jesus.
I knew Jesus called us to pick up our cross to follow Him, but decided I should focus more on the cross of Christ instead of my own. Jesus suffered more than I ever will.
Jesus had a bitter cup to drink too, but for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. He didn’t focus on His misery but on the reason why He went through it all—people. Lord, give me a greater love for people.
I saw two sides to the cross: His suffering and His love. He loves people in general, but He also loves me. When Jesus commanded us to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel,” He promised to be with us until the very end.