"If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, he must leave self behind; day after day he must take up his cross, and come with me". Luke 9:23
As humans how quickly we focus on "negative part" of this verse. Breathing sighs of resignation we plod through each day, grimly enduring our own personal "daily cross" until we are consumed by the pain and struggle of our burden.
Have we ever read past those two words to the next phrase "and come with me?" God never intended us to endure hardship for hardship's sake. He never planned on our being bowed down by the weight of the cross.
God's cross is a form of fellowship with himself. Elsewhere, Jesus says "bend your necks to my yoke and learn from me." (Matthew 11:29) No animals work closer than two oxen, bound together by one yoke. Either they will work in complete unison, or become chafed and sore.
God's purpose is not the gleeful observance of his people suffering. God craves to be yoked with each and every believer, each child born of the Spirit. He craves the intimacy such closeness demands.
Yoked oxen are so closely bound they see and experience exactly the same. Both must turn as one. Both must walk at precisely the same speed. Both must raise or lower their heads at the same time.
God yearns after such intimacy with us. "Come with Me" he beckons. "Let's walk this path together. I promise when you pass through the waters, I will be with you! (Isaiah 43:2) I'm holding your hand (Isaiah 41:13) and I am not going to let go!"
The author wishes to enjoy every year God gives her on this earth.