A great cloud of witnesses

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Heb. 12:1-3

One of the things that can discourage us in our obedience to the Lord is the amount of difficulty we face as well as the length of time we have to face it. And, like Elijah, we can think "no one has seen the trouble I've seen." We think we are alone as we scale the mountain of tribulation before us. And this is dangerous because feeling isolated and alone is a sure path to quitting and walking away from the faith.

At times like this we need to remember that "there hath no temptation taken us but such as is common to man" (1 Cor. 10:13). You are not alone. Moreover, it's not just that you are not alone, but that many others have faced extraordinary and tremendous difficulties too (like "cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;" Heb. 11:36-37), and yet they made it through.

You can too! This is what the "great cloud of witnesses" tells us. By the way, not a bystander here and there, but a great cloud of witnesses. There is an overwhelming chorus of encouragement for us from the saints who have gone before. I have heard people say that Christianity doesn't work, but the great cloud of witnesses provides us innumerable counterexamples to such claims.

We not only have the great cloud of witnesses, above all we have Jesus. Look to him; consider him. He endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. He defeated death, that final and cruel enemy. Hence, those who belong to him no longer have to fear death, because in him they have been granted everlasting life. So look afresh to him today, and chase away through faith in his power and grace and love all the weariness and faintheartedness that seeks to drag you down.

By: Jeremiah Bass