us here on earth. I often wonder why God chooses some of the descriptive words in the Bible. I would not normally turn to the word 'cloud' to describe a group of people.
Clouds are one of the many wonders of creation. They fill the skies without really taking up any room. They are light and fluffy, dark and heavy, or sometimes downright scary. Clouds can mean shade, rain, snow, hail, lightning, tornados, and hurricanes. However, clouds do not act on their own. They need water to form. According to NASA, water vapor is always in the sky in some amount but is invisible. Clouds form and gather around this invisible water in the air and then other factors like wind and temperature will shape and determine what kind of cloud it will be. Clouds basically come when they are called and do as they are told. They allow themselves to be shaped and directed for a purpose.
Perhaps this is why God refers to these witnesses as a great cloud. There they are surrounding the Lord who is invisible to us here on earth. They have allowed themselves to be moved and shaped by God for His purposes. They form around the Invisible and go where He directs them. What a great thought that where God directs these witnesses to go is to us still here on earth. They, along with God, are cheering us on as we fix our eyes on Jesus and run the race marked out for us here on earth.
This great cloud is made up of so many faithful believers down through the ages. Believers like Peter and Paul, Moses and Daniel. Mary, Martha, Ruth, and Rahab. It’s easy to pick out the names in the Bible and picture these people seated by Christ cheering us on. Yet there are so many countless names that could be added to the list. Consider this short list of witnesses, Saint Francis of Assisi, Sojourner Truth, Corrie Ten Boom, David Livingston, Elizabeth Elliot, William & Catherine Booth, William Tyndale, John Wycliffe, and Esther Ann Kim. I could write for days just listing names of faithful believers who allowed God to lead them to unlikely places of service.
Hebrews 12 is a chapter full of some dark and heavy concepts dealing with the struggles we face in this world. So often the struggles of life can leave us feeling lonely or like we are being singled out for punishment and misery. Maybe that’s why Paul starts this chapter with the encouragement of being surrounded by so many who have gone before us. We know as believers that Jesus promised to never leave us or forsake us; but like the loving shepherd He is, He also surrounds us with faithful servants who cheer us on daily.
I encourage you today to think over the faithful believers you know of. Read their stories, recount the memories you have of faithful friends and family who lived for Christ. Then picture them in that great cloud sitting in heaven with Jesus cheering for you.
In His Name, Bonnie
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.