Believe did not originally mean believing a set of doctrines or teachings; in both Greek and Latin its roots mean “give one’s heart to.” The heart is the self at the deepest level. Believing, [be-lieb, heart in German] therefore, does not consist of giving one’s mental ascent to something, but involves a much deeper level of one’s self… It means to give one’s heart, one’s self at its deepest level to the post-Easter Jesus. 
…following Christ by taking up our cross does not refer to any and all suffering but to that suffering that results from acting as Jesus did, identifying with the poor and oppressed, laboring to relieve their suffering, and standing up to the powers that be. That is the kind of behavior that will bring a cross. Human suffering is not a good in itself. Human suffering is to be relieved, not praised–unless it is experienced as a consequence of the good cause that Jesus leads–nonviolent resistance to evil.
In Yoder’s words:
The cross of Christ was not an inexplicable or chance event which happened to strike him, like an illness or accident… The cross of Calvary was not a difficult family situation, not a frustration of visions of self-fulfillment, a crushing debt or a nagging in-law; it was the political, legally to be expected result of a mortal clash with the powers ruling society.
 Marcus Borg, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time (p. 137); in Gandhi & Jesus (pp. 168-169).
 John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus, 2nd ed. (p. 132); in Gandhi & Jesus (pp. 161)