Running has become a big part of my life. In 2003 I set a goal of running 500 miles for the year. I finished the year with 1500 miles and ran my first marathon in January of 2004. I’ve run many marathons since and have now moved into the strange world of running distances much longer than marathons. Much has changed with my understanding of running, but one thing that has remained the same is my appreciation for the cheering crowd. In every marathon I’ve run, crowds have lined the course cheering encouragement and helping me to run faster and farther than I thought possible.
Our journey with the Lord is like a marathon in many ways. We must maintain a disciplined training program to ensure we are prepared. The race itself can be long and hard. There will be times we run out of energy and want to quit, but crossing the finish line will be more rewarding than anything we can imagine! And along the way, we will certainly learn to appreciate the encouragement we receive from the cheering crowd.
“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.”
This verse follows what we often refer to as The Great Hall of Faith. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews describes many people from the Old Testament who were commended for their faith: Able, Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Samson, David, and many others.
At the end of this impressive list, we read that even though they were faithful, “none of them received what had been promised” (Hebrews 11:39). Their reward was postponed until the coming of Jesus; “God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:40). The testimony of the faithful is meant to give us great encouragement. It’s as if they are cheering us on with great anticipation, knowing that one day we will be “caught up together with them” (1 Thessalonians 4:17) to receive our eternal reward.
This cloud of witnesses now also includes the testimony of New Testament believers as well as Christians throughout the last 2000 years. It also includes Brothers and Sisters who love us and pray for us today. As we run the race and sometimes grow weary – sometimes even stumble and fall – these witnesses continue to cheer and encourage our every step; “You can do it, I believe in you! And if you stumble, I’ll help you back up!!”
We can all run faster and further than we think! Yes, the race is long and sometimes difficult, but we’re definitely not alone. Let’s run with renewed perseverance; and when we become discouraged, let’s listen for the cheers from the great cloud of witnesses!
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Sep 26 Isaiah 48:12-50:11; Ephesians 4:17-32; Psalm 69:1-18; Proverbs 24:5-6