Hebrews 12:1-3 (New International Version)
1Therefore, 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. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
These verses speak of encouragement to those of us on earth, running the race--so that we do "not grow weary and lose heart."
That "cloud of witnesses," I have long believed, are those that have gone before--some perhaps the heroes of our faith.
Sometimes things happen that make me feel that in that cloud, not far away, are those with whose writings or life work, I have an affinity.
Yesterday morning just such a thing happened. Firstly, on CBC radio, I heard an interview with John Gray, mayor of the City of Oshawa. He mentioned that the "tag line" of the city is, "Prepare to be amazed." Those words captured my imagination. What an awesome thought to start each day with, I thought--expectant and open to being amazed. I loved it.
I was thinking about that line as I quietly sat in God's presence, and it reminded me of the Daily Light, evening reading, of March 8th:
I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able.
Able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.
Able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.
Able to help those who are being tempted.
Able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.
Able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.
Able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.
2 Tim. 1:12; Eph. 3:20; 2 Cor. 9:8; Heb. 2:18; Heb. 7:25; Jude 24; 2 Tim. 1:12;
Then I picked up my other devotional book, Edges of His Ways, by Amy Carmichael, a writer and missionary, long in heaven and a kindred spirit in many ways. I have sometimes thought I saw echoes of my beloved Daily Light in her writings and today she confirmed it, but in an "amazing" way.
She wrote of persisting in seeking God's encouraging word, "whatever need or trouble" we are in. Then she said, "Sometimes the special word is in...Daily Light." She went on to give an illustration of a time when she was anxious about someone. That night she found these words on the page of Daily Light: I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day.
That was from the evening reading of March 8th, which I had just reread and connected with the words, "Prepare to be Amazed" (because he is able).
At that moment, I felt that God had wrapped a mysterious gift and given it to me, and that a "friend," one who wrote the thoughts God gave her to encourage others, as I write mine, was in the "cloud," encouraging me. And God had indeed amazed me.