I have a super vivid memory from the summer before my Senior year of high school. My mom took me to tour Samford University, where I was certain I would get my degree in education and go on to change the world one English paper at a time! We walked around the campus, and I was in awe of how gorgeous and perfect everything seemed. And then we went into the chapel!
It was breathtaking! I tend to exaggerate, but this is no exaggeration. The chapel was beautiful!!! Every detail captured my attention, but I couldn’t stop looking at the paintings on the ceiling….to the point that I rammed my hip into a pew, haha! The ceiling is painted to show the “great cloud of witnesses.” It.is.stunning!! The picture above doesn’t do it justice at all. I left completely amazed by the sweet little chapel.
Fast forward a few years….exactly 15 years if we want to be technical….and the verse about the “great cloud of witnesses” means so much more to me.
In Hebrews 12:1, Paul wrote “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,”
Paul had just finished what is known by many as the Faith Chapter. He details heroes of the faith that made HIS mark on their time because of their amazing faith. I am so thankful for that cloud of witnesses!!
Until recently, I have always pictured the cloud of witnesses like cheering fans in a stadium in Heaven. They were standing on the bleachers in Heaven shouting for us to “keep fighting!!”, “don’t give up!!”, “kick the devil in the teeth!!” (My great cloud of witnesses is clearly very spiritual, haha!)
But in the last year, I’ve come to know (very personally) another cloud of witnesses….except these witnesses have skin on! They love you, even thought they live with you and see the good, bad, ugly and just plain crazy!! They show up with a meal or schedule a girls’ night. They answer limitless questions and don’t block you on FB when you send them another picture of your sons latest bruise (I LOVE YOU, AMANDA!!!)!! They offer suggestions on what creams help radiation burns, and they reach out to total strangers via a FB group for moms when you ask for resources to help educate a daycare! These are my people!! These are my great cloud of witnesses cheering me on!! And for them I am eternally grateful!!
And I didn’t even have to bruise my hip looking for them! I just look around and I am truly surrounded and held up by all of them!!