April 13

Hebrews 12:1-3

“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…” vs. 1

Whenever calamity strikes our world, whether in the form of earthquake, fire, storm, or vicious military takeovers, we are at first numbed by the pictures and stories that emerge from the disaster. There is so much unnecessary and pointless death and suffering that it’s almost more than our hearts can bear. And then after the initial shock we begin to hear the stories of human bravery and self-sacrifice, tales of people who put their own needs aside in order to minister to others. It’s here that we see plainly the presence of the Christ and the work of the Spirit. In their faith and determination we find examples for the direction of our lives, with their living testimony bearing witness to core human values. In them we see clearly that there is more to living than the mindless pursuit of riches and prestige. The writer of Hebrews saw such people, many of whom had given their lives, as a great cloud of witnesses, and encouraged his readers to put aside every distraction, and then run with perseverance the race that was set before them. His words ring true today. As we make these brave people examples for our lives, we give their suffering a kind of validity, and it can be seen by all that their sacrifices were not in vain.

Thought for the Day: How do I react to disasters?

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