“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” – Hebrews 12:1-2
Misty and I have been going to several basketball games recently. She is serving as the assistant athletic director for Cascade Middle and Davidson is assisting the Cascade High team as a manager. This week as we watched the high school team play at Eagleville, I observed the fans cheer on the team from the stands. Parents, grandparents, friends, and students shared their encouragement to the team. Of course, we weren’t on the court, but the team could her the noise from the stands and responded to the cheers and encouragement.
As I thought about the cheers from the stands, my thoughts went to Hebrews 12. In this passage, the writer of Hebrews says that we are “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”. It’s specifically referring to the “heroes of faith” detailed in Hebrews 11, but I believe this “cloud” would also include all of those in Christ who have entered into eternity before us. We are surrounded by those “heroes of faith” from our own lives whose walk with Christ has blessed and impacted us.
In my cloud, I envision my dad, Misty’s dad, and my grandparents. I can imagine Tom and Susan Mathis, Ralph and Ruth Allison, Earl and Lois West, Earl Anderson, Ted and Wanda Abel, Martha Thibodeaux, and Winston Ardoin. I’m sure there are others who I haven’t named who are part of my “cloud” as well.
Of course, most of these names don’t mean much to you. These are men and women who have impacted my life from the time I was a young boy in Indiana through years spent living in Tennessee, Florida, and Louisiana. None of these men and women were perfect, yet they loved God, gave their lives to Christ, and lived to follow him. They were a blessing to me and others and have received their reward through the grace offered by God through Christ.
Each of us has a cloud. As you read this, contemplate who is in your “cloud of witnesses”. Remember and reflect upon those women and men who blessed your lives through their example and testimony. Remember their example and the love and encouragement that they gave you. This love and encouragement have not ended. They are still loving and encouraging you today.
I thank God for this cloud of witnesses. I’m thankful for these men and women who have impacted my life in significant ways for the glory of God. They remain one of God’s richest blessings to me. I look forward, to one day, being reunited with them and joining the cloud of witnesses as we encourage those who remain as they follow Christ. Whose cloud will you be in?