Read Hebrews 12:1-3

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. Hebrews 12:1 (NIV)

I was standing with hands raised above my head as I gasped for air. My legs and lungs burned from my first cross-country race of the season. I congratulated the person who finished in front of me and continued to cheer on the people still coming in.

After a few minutes it seemed that everyone had finished the race. But the clock was still running, so many people were waiting eagerly for the last runner. Soon a boy came around the corner. A crowd ran beside him, yelling and cheering him on to finish the race. The boy was ecstatic as he crossed the finish line.

As I reflected on this day, I understood Hebrews 12 in a new way. It says that everyone is running the race of life and being encouraged by a huge crowd in heaven and by those around us. When the race is long or we come upon hills, we may think, There is no way I can make it. But God and our supporters cheer, “You can do it!” Before we know it, we can look back and see all the distance we have covered with the help of our “cloud of witnesses.”

Prayer: Dear God, thank you for cheering us on and helping us through hard times. Amen.

Thought for the day: Whom is God calling me to encourage today?

Chris Hemstock, South Dakota