Prior to an NFL football game some legends of the game were invited back and introduced before the game. Videos of each of these great players was shown on the huge screen. One by one their names were called to the loud ovation of the fans that filled the stadium. The current players were standing on the sidelines watching in awe of what was taking place. When the ceremony ended these players went forward and shook hands with their heroes. I wondered at the time, did any conversation take place between the legends and the players of today? Did the current guys ask any questions or did the legends offer any advice?
Watching made me think of the spiritual legends in Heaven – your Mom, Dad, spouse, sibling or close friend. They are in Heavens grandstand cheering you on today. Hebrews 12:1 says, “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 before us.” The “great cloud of witnesses” is composed of the people described in chapter 11. If it’s been some time since you’ve read that chapter, you should go back and do it again. You’ll find many true legends of the faith. They, like you, experienced heartbreak, disappointment, tragedy, rejection and great personal loss. But, they persevered and God honored their faith.
You may be discouraged – came from a bad upbringing – suffered abuse of some kind – but look up! Through the eyes of faith you’ll see some truly great spiritual legends cheering you on. Joseph, hated by his brothers so much they tried to kill him. Yet, in the end Joseph when meeting with them said, “You meant it for harm, but God meant it for good.” Maybe you’ll notice the Apostle Paul who served Christ faithfully, yet no one defended him when he was on trial for preaching the gospel. Of course Jesus Himself is saying, “You can do this!” He knows you can because He’ll give you the resources and power to rise up to complete that which needs to be done. You may feel alone, but you aren’t. Thank God for family and friends that believe in you, but thank Him also for those who’ve run the race and fought the fight. They are standing in Heaven cheering you on. They’re saying “Don’t stop! Don’t quit! Victory is right around the corner! We did it and so can you!!”