Terry Pluto is a sports writer for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland who is a nine-time winner of the Ohio Sports Writer of Year award who also writes books about his faith.
In his book FAITH AND YOU, Terry writes about how the death of his father changed his life. A World War II veteran, his dad used to put Terry up on his shoulders when they went to old Cleveland Stadium to watch the Indians play baseball. He said he felt like he could see the whole world from his dad‘s shoulders and that his dad was always there to carry him.
He was content.
Then his dad had a stroke and he realized “now it was time to be a real son, to care about someone besides myself.”
Have you ever had a similar experience?
His dad battled the aftermath of the stroke for 5 years. Terry thought about himself, “God, this isn’t fair.” But it was really his father who had the right to feel that way because Terry still has his health, his freedom, his job, his wife and his friends. But his dad had lost all of that.
Maybe Pluto was like Simon, a guy described in Mark 15:21 who contently showed up in town (Jerusalem) with his sons Alex and Rufus to celebrate the Passover, and was forced to carry a 40-pound beam of the cross of Jesus. He had no choice but to carry it to the place of crucifixion. Jesus started out carrying his own cross (see John 19:17) but he had been weakened by flogging – beaten and whipped to the point that he could barely walk. If Simon had not carried the beam of the cross, he may have also been murdered like Jesus was.
Our lives can have many detours. That is what can happen when someone you love gets sick and/or passes away. Trials and the hope Christ offers – in the middle of suffering – can bring you closer to God and contentment.
There’re only several sentences written about Simon in the Bible, but we know that his sons became important figures in the early Christian church. Do you think that seeing their dad carrying the cross of Jesus had an impact on these boys?
Simon thought he was going to a service at the temple but ended up taking part in something that changed history. This was not Simon’s plan most likely. But Simon’s plans changed. In one day – one moment – a person’s plans can change.
Pluto’s plans changed. His dad’s stroke was a wake-up call and it resulted in Pluto becoming serious about his Christian faith. He honored God by helping to take care of his dad. This brought contentment.
One way to honor God is to be ready to serve every day through changes. Follow God’s plan and purpose for your life by listening to God. This takes time and patience. Ask God to lead you to contentment.