*First published 11/23/2008
I have always loved this verse. I believe it is a favorite of many people. I most especially think about it on November 1st each year - - All Saints Day. On All Saints Day I like to reflect upon all those Christians who have touched my life that have gone before me. I think about my Grandparents a lot on this day, as well as some other people. I think about how they have handed down to me the heritage of faith and how wonderful that gift is for me.
However, this morning, during adult Sunday School class, we were reading Hebrews 11 and 12 and Pastor put a whole new light on this verse for me.
As my regular readers know, I love analogies.
The word "therefore" is a trigger to look at the previous verses. In reading Chapter 11 of Hebrews, we see a long list of saints that have gone before us during Biblical times. These saints, and all those I have personally known, are the "great cloud of witnesses" sitting in the stadium seats all around me, cheering me on as I run the race.
What hinders me in this race? What sin entangles me? These are personal questions and answers between me and God.
We have all been required to run long distances in gym classes and everyone can recall how difficult it is to keep one's will power to continue running. Sometimes, we talk ourselves out of things. "I can do this. No, I can't. Yes, I can." Yes, we could talk ourselves out of completing the race.
However, God wants me to run with perseverance. He encourages me to talk myself into pushing past that breaking point of the stress of hindrances and the discouragement of entanglements. He encourages me to throw off these burdens that drag me down.
For when I persevere, I will come running into the finish line and into Jesus's arms with that great cloud of witnesses cheering me on every step of the way.
How wonderful to have this analogy to reflect upon. Just when I think I can take no more, I can know that those that have gone before me are cheering me on. I am loved. Someone does care. There are those that want me to finish this race. Jesus cares.
Thanks, Pastor, for giving me a fresh new perspective on this verse.