"Would I have been at the cross that day? Or would I have been too scared and run away?"
Recently, at a Prayer Partner Retreat at Alta Mons with my church, I stood in the center of a massive field surrounded by the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. Awed and silenced by the breath-taking beauty, I spun around in one brief sweep, like Maria on the Sound of Music. Only I did not sing. I raised my arms in praise to the King, for no song or words seemed adequate for that moment. I stood completely still, listening to the gentle rush of a bulging stream and the birds chirping overhead. I felt the cool breeze sweep across my face and the soggy ground sink beneath my feet. That last sensation was my cue to move on.
As I looked up, I spotted a rough hewn cross in the distance. Stepping closer, I noticed multiple carvings on the wooden beams. Testimonies to the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Scratched into the wood were such praises as: God eternal. Almighty God. Prince of Peace. Everlasting God. Sing praise.
I wondered about the folks who had etched their testimony onto the cross for others passing by to witness. Probably men, women, boys, and girls just like me, with struggles, failures, and heartaches, but in love with the Savior. So much so, they took the time to stop and leave their praise imprint.
As I stood alone before the empty cross, I could not help but wonder if I would have been so bold the day my Lord died. Would I have supported him publicly as He was dying for me publicly? Or would I have been like so many of His followers who simply turned away, scared and confused?
I thought about how easy it was to stand before a symbolic cross on a quiet May day, surrounded by beauty and other believers, only a short distance away, who shared a passion for prayer. My heart was convicted and challenged. I wondered what sacrifice I had made that could even begin to compare to my Lord's sacrifice for me.
Stepping even closer to the cross and viewing the etchings, I wondered what lasting impressions I had made for God's kingdom because I had encountered the Christ of the cross.
Would my life be any different for having been here? What would I do or say today that would show at least one other person my Savior lives?
Eileen Rife, author of Second Chance, speaks to women’s groups and conducts marriage seminars with her husband. She is currently working on several projects, including her seventh novel, December Sunrise, and a nonfiction book, 4R Rejuvenation Retreat for Women. www.eileenrife.com, www.eileen-rife.blogspot.com.