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The Great Cloud of Witnesses

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by Kristen C. Strocchia

“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about… These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:32-40

Image result for marathon runnersSo many men and women throughout the Old Testament lived by and acted in faith–absolute certainty in what they hoped for, but couldn’t see. They didn’t even have the whole revelation, the whole inspired Word of God during their lifetimes. But when confronted with the truth of a living God, they responded in faith.

They faced persecution. They saw miracles. They suffered greatly. And they gave up their lives.

By the world’s standards today, no one would have held these people in high esteem. No one would have looked to them as role models. Probably not many would have associated with them, especially once they heard that they lived as they did because of their belief in God. And yet God says, through the writer of Hebrews, that the world was not worthy of these heroes of faith living among them [11:38].

Despite this ultimate commendation, not one of these generation heroes actually saw the fulfillment of the promise–Jesus. And actually, though we today have seen the promise fulfilled by Jesus, there is still more that God has not yet brought to fruition–Jesus’ return, the rapture and eternal life.

It’s possible that we may not see these things in our lifetime either, though we might.

“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 author and perfecter of our faith…Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

The Christian life is not a life of ease. There will be times of trouble, pain and conflict when we live as citizens of light in a sin-darkened world. But we can look to the example of the many men and women of faith whose biographies God recorded in the Bible. We can look to the example of Jesus Christ Himself–God become Man–who was totally rejected and murdered by His own Creation. The Creation that He loves with an unconditional and everlasting love despite our treatment of Him.

Let these examples encourage you to keep on keeping on in the face of adversity. Ask Jesus to strengthen you when the way gets hard. And He will.

Moreover, you can be counted as one of the great cloud of witnesses in your generation. Are your eyes fixed firmly on Jesus? Are you an example and an encouragement to others on the path of life?

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