Many years ago my goal was set. Time and again it would fade out of my conscious mind. I thought it was quite a noble goal; that is, “to grow old without internal wrinkles.” I can’t control what aging does to the exterior; yet, I have a choice about the interior.
What brought this goal back to mind was a look in the mirror. I saw the weariness on my face, and I knew I was in need of a rest ~ the kind that lasts longer than one night’s sleep.
Strangely, I heard the words “old rugged cross.” I had to listen again to make sure that I didn’t hear “old rugged face.” The words actually were intended to remind me of the Cross of Jesus Christ ~ while the word ‘rugged’ grabbed my attention. Off I went to my word search.
Rugged: “having a broken, rocky, uneven surface.” Then I read further…”strong features marked with furrows or wrinkles.” [Webster’s Dictionary] There I was: staring back at me. Ruggedness had shown up from its synonyms: rough, uneven, bumpy, stoney, pitted, jagged, and craggy. Words like this can provoke a person to age with internal AND external wrinkles.
We wake up to the surface of life often being uneven. We can respond or react. Respond to God’s grace; or react with what my friend calls ‘a fit of carnality.’ There is no doubt that the latter promises me internal wrinkles…maybe add a few more external wrinkles.
Jesus hung on the rugged. He bore my uneven, bumpy, jagged, stoney, pitted, rough circumstances upon Himself. So why do I choose to wear them?
The smooth crosses we wear on our necklace chains are lovely, but they fail to remind us of the ruggedness of what Jesus bore for us. Bob Mumford says something like this: “When you come to the foot of the cross of Christ, you come away with a mouthful of splinters.” There’s nothing smooth about the experience while bringing our carnal flesh to the Cross. It’s rugged, but it promises the greatest hope.
Back to the mirror. My rugged countenance reflects a soul weary of carrying its own. It’s time to lay ‘rugged’ down ~ right at the foot of that old rugged Cross…even if I spit splinters.