Lead me to Your cross, Lord.
Teach me to recognize and set aside those things that serve only to distract me from You.
I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown. – From “The Old Rugged Cross”
By George Bennard (1913)
George Bennard was a young evangelist and minister in 1912, traveling between cities to lead revivals in Michigan and Wisconsin. Though he was preaching and singing to rapt crowds during the revivals, privately he was struggling spiritually. He found himself studying John 3:16 and reflecting more and more on the image of the cross and the suffering of Christ. “I was going through a great travail,” he explained many years later. “I needed help. Then I remembered an old wooden cross I had once seen. The first ten words came to me; ‘On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross.’” “The Old Rugged Cross” went on to become one of the most beloved hymns in America history.
When we, like Bennard, go through pain and suffering, we can look to the cross – the “emblem of suffering and shame” – and know that our Savior suffers with us and for us. He endured that terrible cross, giving us resurrection and life in exchange?