That “Great Cloud of Witnesses”

That “Great Cloud of Witnesses”

RiverWalk Church of Christ Wichita Ks  Minister

Sometimes, in my more melancholy moments, I wonder why it is that the world seems to be running increasingly toward chaos and destruction. I then wonder why those of us who believe we have been given the charge by Jesus Christ to be salt and light seem to increasingly find ourselves in the middle of nowhere, so to speak, and no one seems to be paying attention to the feeble lights that we shine. No one seems to respond to the salt we spread. We become seemingly more isolated…more alone…as we continue down life’s path. Sometimes it seems like as Christians we’ve been left stranded in the middle of a wilderness with no way out and no one around.
Yes, I am aware of others in my church family who are laboring with me, making sure our lights are as bright as possible, depending on God for strength and wisdom while we continue together down the path of time toward eternity. But somehow, sometimes that knowledge just doesn’t quite seem to be enough.
And yes, I am aware of Jesus’ promise to be with me always…to never leave me and forsake me. But I will admit that sometimes life hands me something that just seems to overwhelm that thought and assurance as well.
You may well know the feeling too…the overwhelming inundation of evil, sorrow, injustice, poverty, and apathy…those things just seem to take over and take charge. Our thoughts and even our actions reflect our disappointment and discouragement. And once and again we rely on other people of faith, the strength and mercy of God, and the promises of Jesus to climb out of the abyss into which the worldly pains and sorrows washed us.
But let me tell you something that helps me, perhaps as much or more than anything…the knowledge that others I don’t even know are struggling and laboring along with me and with those in my church family and circle of friends. People like Scott Hamilton, former Olympic skater and television analyst. People like Amy Grant, singer and song writer with a long and successful career in Christian and popular music. People like Pat Sajak, long time host of Wheel of Fortune. People like Lester Holt, NBC news anchor and television personality.
These people and others, both living and dead, are a part of that “great cloud of witnesses” that Hebrews 12 talks about, who surround us as we join them in running the race that is set before us. And we surround them as well, knowing that they too struggle. They too become discouraged. They too feel all too alone at times. They too need encouragement from God, from His Son Jesus Christ, from their Christian friends, and from us who they don’t even know.
So, in this new year of 2019, when life hands you over to the evil, apathy, poverty, injustice and sorrow that seems to abound, take comfort in the fact that there are people you don’t know who are praying for you…lifting you up…cheering you on as you in turn do the same for them. Some of those people are part of your church family or people you know. Others are people you don’t know, and will never know until we all meet together at some time in the future.
That “great cloud of witnesses” continues to function even until today.

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