"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." Hebrews 12:1
We have a support group at our church. In fact, we have several small support groups under the umbrella of a larger support group called "Target 10:10 for Recovery". When my husband and I first felt the Lord leading us to start this group a couple of years ago, I remember thinking, "This is a really nice thing we're doing. There are a lot of hurting people out there and they need encouragement and strength to keep fighting." That was all well and good and I was more than happy to help. You know what I didn't realize then that I know now --and the Lord knew all along? I needed this group just as much as anyone else.
We try not to be predictable at Target 10:10. We have a format to follow but sometimes we like to kind of "shake things up a bit" (I think that's one characteristic we are learning from our Heavenly Father!) A few weeks ago we pulled all of our chairs into one big half circle and started sharing how we feel we're doing in our "journey of recovery". Some of us struggle with substance abuse, some with depression and rejection, some with co-dependency, some with sexual addictions, and the list goes on. There were some very private moments, some tears, some laughter, some questions and some heartaches while waiting for answers. More than anything else though, I sensed an amazing outpouring of love and support from brothers and sisters who loved each other and wanted to see each other succeed.
One of the last things we did that night was to go around and tell each person what strengths that the Lord had revealed to us were in their lives. Talk about encouraging! Hebrews 12:1 comes to mind when I remember that evening. We were surrounded by a pretty great cloud of witnesses. Because we knew that cloud of witnesses were cheering us on, we walked out of there that night with a renewed motivation to "run the race with perseverance".
The writer of Hebrews, in chapter 12 was giving us a picture of a "Heavenly Support Group" that is in glory cheering us on in our race here on earth. The scripture begins by saying, "Therefore..." The therefore reverts back to all of the members of the "Hall of Faith" mentioned in chapter 11. The scripture says they are all in heaven cheering us on. What a beautiful picture to keep focused on as we press forward. The most powerful part of that picture is the person leading that cheer--our Lord Jesus.
That's one of Easter's most amazing results. Because of his death and resurrection,
Romans 8:34 tells us, "...Christ Jesus, who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Verse 35 goes on to remind us that nothing shall separate us from the love of Christ. Talk about motivation!
He is Risen!