Hebrews 12 "1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race
that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the
sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has
taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God."
"To the cloud!" proclaim the commercials hawking the new Window's 7 operating system. We are surrounded by the great cloud of the internet. All kinds of information, web-based programs, calendars, emails, blogs, pictures, facebook, twitter, voicemail, texts, and more. A great swirling mass of electronic signals and software stored somewhere and replicated, and distributed globally.
But the writer to the Hebrews was thinking of a different "cloud"; a cloud whose existence did not depend upon access to electricity, computer hardware, and software.
Allow yourself to connect to the cloud, that great cloud of witnesses, though their writings, their stories of faith, their struggles so much like ours, and through the supernatural encouragement that they give us to keep going forward. They crossed the finish line at this marathon, and they now line the track, shouting encouragement, to keep our eyes focused on Jesus.
And sometimes, just sometimes, the veil will clear and we can sense that Jesus is also in the crowd, for he not only raced the same marathon, but ran it all the way, not just to the cross, but through death into the resurrection.
Standing at the finish line, he's calling to us, coaching us to keep running, to let go of the things that try to get us to stop, to forget the other voices which criticize our running style, the voices that tell us we shouldn't have even been allowed in the race.