21-Day Fast (Day 16) Cloud of Witnesses

Scripture: Hebrews 12:1-2

1Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The 11th chapter of Hebrews chronicles for us some very key figures of faith in the Old Testament summing them up by saying, “And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” Hebrews 11:39-40.

As chapter 12 opens up, we find that the work of these dear saints is far from complete. While their earthly tabernacle has faded, their representation and observation is still taking place today.

Can I Get a Witness?

Overcoming monumental obstacles that included, trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38(Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth (Hebrews 11:36-38), The scripture tells us they received not the promise. But they have a vested interest in our success, because the scripture goes on to say, “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (Hebrews 11:40).”

Many of the witnesses Hebrews refers to were bludgeoned to death, tortured, dismembered, disemboweled, burned at the stake, and sawn asunder. In my wild imagination I envision patriarchs of old peering through the portals of Heaven watching as you and I now battle the forces of spiritual wickedness in high places. All those precious souls watch with baited breath as you and I face the enemy on a new plain. The persecution we face is real, but the brutality is different. While theirs was a physical anguish, ours is mental, and at times physical, with the added intensity of an enemy that is not content to just destroy this earthly vessel of our body, but the devil wants to destroy our soul as well.

The Cheerleaders of Heaven

This may be taking it a bit too far, but I believe the likes of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are watching God’s grand design unfold, and are anxiously observing each battle we fight. I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to think we have a cheering section in the prophets, and in our family members who have gone on before us shouting…”You can make it! Don’t stop fighting! The enemy isn’t as tough as you think he is! God will see you through this! Don’t give up child, the battle is yours!”

Praise the Lord! As much as it means to me to have a cloud of witnesses that want me to make it, and that I know I can make it with the grace of God, having Jesus as my hero is of far greater importance. Yes, I admire my grandparents and loved ones that have gone on to their reward because of their faithfulness in this life. But having Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, standing guard over my life is of the greatest comfort. Apostle Paul must have felt the same way because he said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” With the patriarchs of old cheering me on and the power of Jesus to see me through…I can’t lose!

How Do I Feel?

With day 16 well underway, I’m able to see the proverbial light at the end of this tunnel. My muscles have stopped aching, but I get tired very easily. Reading some material on fasting, they said that natural hunger will return. I’m honestly, not looking forward to that day. You may wonder why. Well, I feel like I’ve finally captured and caged a part of myself that has been literally running rampant my entire life. More on that subject in my final thoughts on the 21st day.