Hebrews 12:1-2 (CEB)

1 So then, with endurance, let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.


As I am sitting at my table looking out the window, the leaves are steadily falling. I think about how trees and plants die off for the winter then in the spring come back bigger and fuller, although sometimes they need some pruning. We had several trees that needed to lose limbs this summer, and one of them happened to be a favorite limb on a favorite tree. The limb was perfect for climbing so we have many pictures of kids perched on the limb. It was sad to see it go, but it had a giant crack in it, and it was time. We as humans go through these phases of loss and renewal as well. We hurt when we lose a loved one, but when we are going through something, do we remember what our grandparents, parents, friends, and loved ones shared with us or went through themselves that we can learn from? Sometimes something happens in our lives, and we are reminded of a loved one – something we hadn’t thought about maybe since it happened, but it brings a happy thought or a provoking thought about how we should deal with something.

As our scripture points out to us, we do have a cloud of witnesses that have gone before us to help us in the here and now. We can use their experiences and their words to us to help us run the race in front of us – a race of endurance. Yes – our lives are very fleeting in the big scheme of things, but life should not be a sprint to get to the finish. It should be a time well spent in enjoying all that God has given to us. We can include the beauty of the seasons and amazing times spent in beautiful places and times spent with friends and loved ones. The good times and memories refresh us so that when we are in those seasons of life that are difficult, we have those and our faith to help us work through to come out on the other end stronger and maybe with a new perspective. Just like the plants who go dormant in the winter and sometimes pop up as a surprise to us in our garden in the spring, sometimes those happy memories of people just pop up and make us laugh or just comfort us when we need it.

by Janet Waryck

For Pondering & Prayer

What memories of loved ones can we use to help us with whatever it is we are going through right now so that we can be stronger on the other end?

Prayer: God of all, thank you for those who have been in our lives who may now be gone. We miss them, but we know they are a part of us that will never leave. Help us to use those memories to work through our troubles today as well as to make us laugh unexpectedly and give us peace. Thank you, Jesus, for your sacrifice for us. Amen.