If you are a true Christian you have no problems at all. But you probably have plenty of crosses–which is the Christian word for trials, afflictions, adversities, pains, or distress of any kind when offered in union with Jesus’ redemptive passion (1 Pet. 4:13). As Christians (followers of Christ), he requires that we “follow” him with his cross. In doing so, our “problems” become “crosses” like his when we “take-up” (that is “embrace”) each one, not once, but “daily,” as Jesus twice insisted (Luke 9:23; 14:27). The word “embrace” connotes a fervent love that is grace-spangled with joy. Yet it is a rare Christian that finds the kind of joy described in the opening words of James’ epistle: “Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, when you undergo trials of many kinds.” That “pure joy” in trials is one that is uncontaminated with bitterness, resentment, or even hesitancy in embracing God’s will in one’s misfortunes and afflictions. It is a joy that exults in God’s special blessings for Christians who have learned to embrace their crosses, for Scripture reminds us that “blessed is the one whom God corrects, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty (Job 5:17). To “embrace” a cross is far more than to “put up” with a cross. Embracing involves an active and joy-graced love. Hence, the title of this series of four teachings by Fr. John Hampsch: Embracing Your Crosses in Life. Viewing the series will enflame that love in your heart, as you find that each cross in your life is really the cross of Jesus that you are helping him carry.