Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12: 1, 2


If you live long enough, you will run into a bunch of tough days. This is an unavoidable fact. Life will take those sudden left turns without warning, and you will collide with its realities with their sudden and jarringly destructive crashes. Even if there is prior notice, the pain, grief and struggles that we encounter are equally difficult to handle. It could be easy to decide to hide from it all or to take a vacation from life, but we just don’t really get to do those things. Escapism and avoidance don’t fix things, at best they simply prolong their duration, and they often make things worse.


We can take some comfort in the fact that none of us is the first person to go through what we are faced with. The cloud of witnesses that is mentioned is truly made up of a number that is beyond counting. These are the people who have lived before us and the ones who are with us now and have endured through various types and kinds of struggles. In Christ, we are all joined together in the source of our greatest strength, and we walk together with Christ in the good and the bad days of life. Our Lord has endured the trials and carried the weight of harsh reality all the way to the God’s glorious end.


However, Jesus is not like many people in that He doesn’t just stand beyond the finish line and implore us to do as He did and finish our journey. Rather, Christ enters into the day-by-day and moment-to-moment aspects of the trial. He feels what we feel, and speaks truth to our minds and comfort to our hearts. All that we encounter can be a step along that path that Jesus walked which leads to our eternal dwelling in the presence of God. Each hour of the time of trial can be a testimony to the love, peace and victory that Christ gives to His people. So, each of us can go through our days with our strength and comfort coming from Christ, and as we do this, we join in that great and melodious chorus that is sung by that cloud of witnesses.

Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Hebrews 12: 1


It seems to me that the time that is showing on the clock doesn’t matter and my schedule for the day is unimportant, for my true state of mind and heart comes from inside of me. Regardless of the external situation and circumstances, there are too many days when I just don’t see so clearly. These are the times when the words that I keep repeating to myself are words of discouragement and doubt. These are the days that are marked by more disability than by empowerment. The crazy thing about all of this is that the negativity that becomes so all encompassing and that pervades every corner of my mind is mostly self-generated. I become my own worst enemy, and Satan is simply delighted when I do this.


Christ wants me to remember the fact that He has surrounded me with people who have walked through the same sort of life course as I have. Their experiences are recorded in His word from its inception. He has literally filled my world with real, skin-wearing, and honest individuals who struggle and weep, who fall down and get back up, and who give in to sin and still end the day victorious. God wants me to look outwardly and to see the lives of others so that I won’t become so inwardly focused that I can’t see His glorious path for my life and hear His voice encouraging me to embrace it fully.


We are intended to go through this life in the company of others. God designed us to live in community and to be contributors to that group, also. I need to keep reminding myself that when the doubt starts to form and I begin to become oppressed and overwhelmed by life, there is a large historical and current family that I belong to. They are with me as I travel along each and every step of today’s path. Additionally, it is my privilege and my responsibility to join others in their journey, for together we have the strength to keep going all the way to the finish.