Sunday, August 16, 2009

Cloud of Witnesses

Jake continues to pull us and push us. The doctor asked him a bit ago to hold up two fingers. He tried. Then to make a fist. That was immediate! Ready to punch. He is moving around pillows, trying to pull off bandages, itching his nose. More signs of improvement...of life. He is active (at times difficult to keep his feet and arms in the bed) then gets groggy and doses...

It is slow but he is waking up. The improvement - the evidence of what is to hope for is encouraging and keeps us going - God encourages us in proportion to just what we need. It is incredible to know and remember that it is not just my prayers or Debbie or Robbie or Jensen - we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses supporting us, holding our arms up when we are weak, when we are tired, when we are scared.

We are surrounded by an amazing cloud of witnesses...

Reading Hebrews 12:1-3 is very encouraging and challenging...

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. Let 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. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

But you really cannot read those verses without reading what comes before - at the very least Hebrews Chapter 11...
By faith Abel..
By faith Enoch...
By faith Noah...
By faith Abraham...
They lived their lives by faith not fully realizing what they hoped for; seeing it from a distance, sometimes fuzzy, sometimes uncertain, perhaps a storm leads them off course. "they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on the earth...looking for a country of their own;" a place to call home - where everything that is hoped for is realized; where things are put right as they should be. They knew the heart of God and longed for his presence - his promises - the heavenly dwelling of God. "Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a place for them."
By faith Abraham and Isaac...
By faith Joseph...
By faith Moses...
By faith Rahab the prostitute...

And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.

These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.

Now go back and read Hebrews 12:1-3 again...

we are surrounded by the power of God active and moving and seen in the lives of the faithful who hope for more of God, peace of God, restoring that which was promised and is working in and through the power of God through his son Jesus and the Spirit of God dwelling in those who have placed their trust and hope in the grace of God.

It may not always make sense. This right now does not make sense. But spiritual, extraordinary things rarely do.

Love, peace, hope

Tom (Dad)

3 comments:

Rebecca said...

Ah Tom, you quote some of my favorite passages. When you think of it from God's perspective, outside the realm of time, he sees all the patriarchs of old "faithing it" right along side of us, collectively with us, this cloud of witnesses. I am overcome with gladness that Jake is reaching out and loving your presence. I think about his progress at random times and just go to tears with gratitude that he is being restored to you and over God's great faithfulness. God, nothing has ever been too hard for you, nor will it ever be. Thank you for this time of restoration of Jacob with his family. Thank you for the healing and for the encouragement. Again, we bring Jacob to you to make him whole in every way. Thank you, High Priest, for understanding and caring about our needs.

Debbie said...

A beautiful depiction of faith and hope. Sometimes we are able to have hope and faith on our own...for ourselves, and other times we are too tired, too weak. One of my favorite, was Lazarus, who (clearly could not hope or believe for himself...he was dead) but his family/friends had ENOUGH faith FOR him. Life was breathed into him by his family and friends faith, and he was brought back to life.

It is an honor to be one of the hundreds of "cloud of witnesses" on Jacob's and your entire family's behalf.

We LOVE you,

The Childs Family

Victoria said...

Rec'd this email request to post from Carol:

Hi Tom,
So glad that God has given us "faith". Oh, what this faith does in us! So glad that Jacob is responding more and more each day. Life is always two steps forward and one step backwards. Will continue to ask God to put His peace in Jacob so he won't be pulling on bandages, tubes or anything else he needs to help him along this road of his journey. Peace to you, Debbie, Robbie and Jensen as you all continue this walk with Jacob.
Blessings, Carol