Tag Archives: so great a cloud of witnesses

The Hope Of Heaven

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

As we sat around the dinner table last night, the conversation began to focus on Heaven. We went around the table asking who would be the first person we would want to meet in Heaven aside from Jesus. As we discussed different people from the Bible, I decided to post on Facebook asking others who they would like to meet. I was surprised by their answers. Instead of people from the Bible, most came back with family members they had never met. Several spoke of children they had lost through miscarriage.

What I read in their responses was there are so many of us who live our lives with the hope of being reunited and being made complete. Family units will be as they could have been. We’ll be able to see from one end of the family tree to the other. Heaven, for many, will be a great big family reunion. We’ll be joined together with families who were with us here on earth and with fellow heirs of Christ. I don’t know how it will work or how we will be known, but I do know that there is a great cloud of witnesses cheering us on to complete our race (Hebrews 12:1). Those who have gone on before don’t want us to quit.

When I think of eternity and the prize that is waiting, it always encourages me to keep going. Let’s face it, living how God called us to live isn’t easy. It’s difficult to be successful at it in a world that cheers us on to live like them. There are days where it’s just easier to quit running this race than to take another step forward. There are times when things happen that we don’t understand and we want to be angry at God. In those moments when I get frustrated and doubt that God really cares, I think of those who have already made it to Heaven and how I want to see them. I look beyond the pain of today toward what is to come.

Yes, life is full of loss, hurt and pain, but God didn’t leave us without hope. He gave us the Comforter to guide us and to remind us of God’s promises. He gave us the hope of being reunited with lost loved ones. He gave us that cloud of witnesses who are cheering for you to keep going. Can you hear them? Can you imagine them standing all around you wanting you to complete the race? When I doubt or want to quit, I hear those cheers and it encourages me to keep going. They’re cheering for you too. Your family members, unborn children and a host of others will be waiting at the finish line to welcome you home. You just have to keep running even when they’ve gone on before you.

Photo by Nicholas Green on Unsplash


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You Are An Ironman

This weekend there was an Ironman race in our town. If you’re unfamiliar with an Ironman race, they start at 7:00 AM with a 2.4 mile swim, then they ride their bike for 112 miles and then run 26.2 miles. That’s a 140.6 mile race! Oh, and they have time limits for each portion of the race. To be qualified as an Ironman, you have to finish within those time frames. For the marathon run portion, you have to cross the finish line by midnight. That’s a 17 hour race if you’re keeping up with the math.

We had a friend racing in it so we thought we would go cheer her on at the finish line. I wasn’t prepared for that. It was an amazing experience to watch these Ironmen old and young, skinny and not so skinny cross the line. The music was pumping and the crowd was electric. Every time a runner would cross the line, the announcer would call out their name and say, “You are an Ironman!” The crowd would roar in celebration for that person. Some walked across the finish line, some limped, so ran faster, so took time to high five the crowd as they passed and some slowed down to take it all in and asked the crowd to cheer more.

As I was cheering, I thought about my own finish line in life. I thought, “This must be what it’s like when we die and go to Heaven. There must be a crowd of people cheering us across the finish line as the Father says our name and then says, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!'” My mind also went to Hebrews 12:1 that says, “Since we are surrounded by a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

In a 140.6 mile race, I’m sure there are places in that race where there isn’t a crowd cheering you on. There are placed where it’s just them and the road. They’re going through the motions fighting a mental battle to push on. I’m sure there is every reason in the world to want to quit and only one reason to stay in the race. There are walls in their mind that they have to push through. There are times where they need water and sustenance to give their body energy to keep going. But there are times where someone hands them a drink, offers a nutritious bar and times where there is a crowd that cheers them on. But there’s nothing like the crowd at the finish line.

In our personal race, there are times you will face where no one is there to keep you going. There will be times when you have every reason to quit. There will be walls that you will face to try to stop you. You’ll need to drink from God’s Word. You’ll need supernatural food to sustain you along the way. God will send encourages along your path, but there will be nothing like crossing the finish line in Heaven. There will be music and a great crowd of witnesses cheering you home. You will hear the Father say your name and then, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” So keep pushing today. You aren’t in a sprint or even a marathon. This life is an Ironman race. You can make it.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7, 8 NLT)


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