We are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses . . . let us run. (Heb. 12:1)

I LOVE THE ENERGY of a starting line of a half marathon. Runners line the streets, stretching, chatting, yawning. Even more exciting is the actual race course. Families step out of their homes to wave. Kids hold up signs with motivational phrases. Bands play every few miles. Volunteers offer water and pep talks. “You can do it! Only a few miles left!” My body may tire, but the encouragement bolsters my sore feet until I reach the finish line.

The writer of Hebrews stated that Christians are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. The forerunners of our faith watch from heaven, offering us hope by their stories. Hebrews 11 reveals several of their names: Abraham, Enoch, Jacob, Moses, and David. Their lives exemplify the perseverance of faith. We persevere by reading God’s Word and praying. We must practice our faith in everyday moments, even when our hearts are distracted by evil. However, even the most seasoned follower of Jesus, grows weary and discouraged. By fixing our eyes on Jesus and listening to the encouragement shouted to us by the witnesses, we remain unhindered and steadfast.

The prize for a half marathon is a sparkling, silver medal. The prize for running the Christian life is hearing Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” The witnesses are cheering, “Keep going! Not much farther!” The finish line is in sight. Stay steady.

Thank God today for the witness from heaven that most encourages you to persevere.

Kathleen E. Dunlap lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband and their dog, a Great Dane mix. She enjoys reading, crocheting, running, and journaling.