I woke early this morning. Grabbing a cup of coffee, I wandered to the couch, sat curled up on the end, and enjoyed a gentle refreshing breeze coming through the open window. The light of dawn burst through the dark of night as birdsong broke through the silence. So great a cloud of witnesses there in the breaking of dawn.
A delight of my heart.
None were visible, but all were heard.
So Great a Cloud of Witnesses Surrounding Us Go Unseen
Their voices rose in a chorus of praise, a celebration of the new day. Trills. Chirping. A melody riding along the wave of song coming from the lush greens of the apple tree.
I thought about Hebrews 12:1-3.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”
Because I could hear the birdsong, but not see the birds, I thought about the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us — the unseen heavenly hosts.
And I smiled.
I smiled because I could imagine them cheering me on — rooting for me during a very difficult season. In my spirit, I could hear them bolstering me with praise to remind me of the One who loves me and encouraging me to remain steadfast.
Isn’t that a glorious thought?
Elijah experienced this. He and his servant were staying in Dothan. The king of Syria was making war against Israel and learned that Elijah was in Dothan. The king and his army came by night and surrounded the city. When Elijah’s servant arose the next morning and went out, he saw the horses and chariots, and cried out to Elijah, “Master! What shall we do?” And Elijah answered him saying, “Don’t be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
And then Elijah prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” ~ 2 Kings 6:17
Evidence of So Great a Cloud of Witnesses
So great a cloud of witnesses.
Or what about the shepherds tending their sheep the night Jesus was born? An Angel of the Lord appeared to them to tell them the Messiah had come.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host singing praises to God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” ~ Luke 2:14
Oh, that we might see and hear the faithfulness of God. That we might be aware of the heavenly hosts that surround us to cheer us on in our race — so great a cloud of witnesses sent from the Father above.
As I continued to sit by the window, watching and listening to the morning song, I noticed some movement. A solitary finch hopped away from the choir and began to belt out his song from the end of the branch. A soloist!
Like Elijah and his servant, and like the shepherds in the field who witnessed their heavenly hosts, God opened a window of heaven and gave me a glimpse of the tiny cantor singing praise — just for me.
Oh Lord, open our eyes so that we might see a glimpse of the heavenly hosts You have given charge over us. Open our ears that we might hear their cheers of encouragement to not give up, to cross the finish line in victory. And help us keep our eyes on You while we run, while we make our strides in rhythm to the cheers of the heavenly hosts.
Moments later, the finch dove back into the thick leaves and branches to join the chorus — the choir I couldn’t see, but I certainly could hear.
The morning song continued until the sun had successfully overcome the mountain ridge and stood stately in the eastern sky.
Never Lose Sight of Where You are Heading
I suppose the cheers from our cloud of witnesses — His heavenly hosts — will do the same. They will steadfastly cheer us on until we successfully step across the threshold of eternity and stand before the Lord our God.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how He did it. Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—He could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility He plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” ~ Hebrews 12:2-3, MSG
Thank you so much for stopping by. I would love for you to share what’s on your heart in the comments below. Scroll a little farther down and you’ll see where you can leave your comments. Together, we can find the nearness of God in our darkest moments.
Sweet blessings to you,