Hebrews 12:1 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.
Running on empty, the race had completely drained me. Sweat pouring down my face, I wondered if I’d made a mistake. Maybe I wasn’t cut out to run this race. I’d trained properly, yet it sure didn’t feel that way now. The motivation I had in the beginning, slowly diminished with each mile of the race. Did it really matter if I finished? Would anyone even notice?
The last leg of the race was ahead, just around the corner. Boisterous shouts erupted in the air. Shrieking whistles pierced my ears. Thunderous clapping almost shook the pavement. The crowd ushered us along with jubilant applause. All of a sudden I felt rejuvenated! A sense of accomplishment welled up inside of me. The hard work was worth the excitement that washed over me. The crowd surrounded me on both sides as I crossed the finish line. Yes! I’d finally made it!
In Hebrews 12, we are told about a cloud of witnesses that surrounds us. Although they aren’t visible to us, they are ever-present in the spiritual realm. In the previous chapter—often called the hall of faith—we read about these heroes of the past, examples who inspire us today. Those who believed and hoped, even though they didn’t get to see Jesus while they lived out their days on earth. The Greek meaning for the word witnesses is testifiers. Each one mentioned in the passage bears testimony to the power of faith and God’s faithfulness. God used them to lay the foundation we stand on today. They persevered until the very end. They ran their races well and were ushered into the presence of God, their redemption complete.
Imagine Abraham, Jacob and Isaac, the patriarchs of our faith, cheering us on! Imagine Moses and Joshua urging us to stay strong and courageous on our journey of faith. What about Joseph? Think of all the turmoil he endured, yet he stayed focused on God’s promises. Can you envision him walking on the sideline of your race giving you a high-five? What would he say?
Hang in there! Don’t stop. Keep going. Your pain will be worth it when you reach the finish line.
Then there’s Rahab. A runner we’d never expect to be mentioned in this famous race of faith. Some would say she wasn’t even worthy to sign up for the race to begin with. But her name in this passage bears testimony to the boundless grace of God. The kind of grace that redeems and restores any sinner who surrenders to Him. What would she say if she could see us struggling to take another step in our race?
He is for you. He loves you. Lean on him. You’re going to make it!
Just as we runners can grow weary along a difficult race course, it’s easy to lose our motivation at times in life. We start out with such powerful zeal. We think nothing could ever stop us. But then something happens, slowing us down. Our excitement fizzles out and we lose our focus. We wonder what our purpose really is. Does our life matter? The truth is, it does matter! And there are others who have gone before us. Others who have persevered. Others who have fought the good fight of faith.
One day we will have the opportunity to speak to those listed in the book of Hebrews. Although from different generations, we will all celebrate together. Our common thread will be that Jesus enabled us to persevere. One step at a time.
READY? Identify an area of your life where you’ve lost motivation or feel a lack of purpose. What do you need to get back on track? What does your temporary setback look like through the lens of eternity? Close your eyes and imagine those from the hall of faith giving you high fives!
GET SET. Read Hebrews 11:4-40
GO! Dear God, I confess that many times I feel weary and want to quit. I lose my motivation. My purpose isn’t clear. Please help me to regain clarity and to keep going. Help me remember those who have gone before me. May their inspiration and example be a reminder that just as you were with them, you are with me now. Amen
Blessings to you!