…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. Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)
Our church has a COW program that manifests itself at the beginning of the fall school semesters. Let me explain: The COW – Cloud of Witnesses – sponsors are assigned high school and university students for intercession and encouragement. I have several myself and find it a great joy to follow up with “my” students to see how God is working in their lives.
I’m not certain that’s what the writer to the Hebrews had in mind when he described that Cloud of Witnesses that is so intensely interested in our lives, but I find it greatly comforting to think that there is a whole grandstand full of people in the heavenlies cheering us on, just as I do with my students. I know Jesus is occupied in praying for us (Romans 8:34), but I just wonder if that Cloud includes some of our loved ones who have vested interests in our welfare? I can just imagine that my parents and grandparents are watching with great hope.
Not only are we surrounded by all those godly witnesses, but Jesus assures us he is always with us (Matthew 28:20). Corrie ten Boom wrote about being alone in a cell in the concentration camp and feeling downcast. Then she remembered that Jesus said, “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20). She reasoned that Jesus was one, the Father was two, and the Holy Spirit was three. That was enough for her to know that she was in God’s presence.
Isn’t it also true of us? Surely, at various times of our lives, we will find ourselves alone. We either shrink into self-pity or we look around to find ourselves in God’s presence. And, of course, there is that great Cloud of Witnesses that knows the reward of trusting and abiding in Christ no matter what the circumstances.
What a joy to know that at every juncture of our lives, Someone is watching. Someone is praying for us. Someone is cheering us on. And Someone is always there to strengthen us in pressing onward.
Father, keep our eyes and hearts fixed on you. Remind us that we’re never alone, and others have gone before and reached the destination safely. Thank you for always providing what we need to keep going. AMEN.