“These witnesses (Hebrews 12:1) do not just pump their fists and cheer. They have real words of power to speak into our struggles. Sometimes their words may not be the ones we wish for at that moment. But they’re always the ones we need.”- Kyle Idleman
“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)
In the Preface to Section 1 (“Listen to the Crowd”) of Don’t Give Up, Kyle Idleman discusses Hebrews 12:1-3. Pastor Idleman notes that the writer of Hebrews urges us not to give up. Furthermore, the writer points us to a source of motivation, inspiration, and accountability – a cloud of witnesses.
Most noteworthy, Kyle points out, the word cloud used in this passage refers to more than a cloud in the sky. This second meaning of cloud, like a heavy fog that surrounds us, denotes a cloud that encompasses us. Also, while you look up in the sky and see the first type of cloud, you feel the cloud referred to in Hebrews 12. So, when you think of the faith heroes described in Chapter 11, Pastor Idleman states, “think of them as faces in the cloud of tough issues that make up life.”
Finally, the author observes that we can think of a witness as someone who sees as well as someone who says. For example, Kyle wonders, what if the heroes of Hebrews 11 express a heavenly joy rather than an earthly joy. In fact, Pastor Idleman notes, some scholars believe that fighting through our greatest trials moves us toward our greatest blessings. Therefore, history’s greatest heroes applaud us at the very time we feel the loneliest and most overwhelmed.
And these heroes bear witness across time and eternity whenever we feel tired, weary, and ready to check out. As Kyle exhorts, “When you feel like giving up, listen for the crowd.”
Today’s question: What witnesses provide real words of power in your life? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “A few pieces, but no big picture”