The twelfth chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews begins with these words: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Of course, this is a reference to the long list of faithful Old Testament believers that we are reminded of in chapter eleven. But I have also been reminded in last several weeks of the fact that I am currently surrounded by a present-day cloud of faithful witnesses as well. They are constantly “looking to Jesus”; saints who walk with God day-in and day-out through the valleys and mountain-tops. They are amazing people; trophies of God’s grace. As I stand back and observe them in the face of trials that would overwhelm your typical hero or heroine, these are super-heroes because there faith is supernatural. It’s clear that they are driven and sustained by something bigger than they are. In the face of sickness, pain, suffering, fear, fatigue, disappointment and death, they press on to their high calling in Jesus Christ, and they do so in such an admirable way; not only those who are suffering directly, but also those loving servants who surround and serve them.
I (and many others) are truly blessed and served by such a cloud of faithful witnesses and I want to thank them as I thank God for such gifts of encouragement and strength.
24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
25 The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.