Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "As With Gladness Men Of Old"1 (Lyrics)
Hebrews 12:1 – 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. (NIV)
I had worked very hard seeking to prepare my cart pony, Frank, for the July first Canada Day town parade. We had traversed many miles together along roadways and through forest trails where he was exposed to new sights, sounds, and smells. I even had the fire department sound their siren next to the corral, when they came to do a burn on our property, thus exposing Frank to this unexpected and blaring noise. In a town of only 350 people, however, there was one thing that I couldn't expose him to, and this worried me. Crowds of people lining the streets, clapping and shouting, only happen on July first, parade day. How would he react? I had no idea. He didn't mind vehicles but was always leery of people walking on the street, especially if they had dogs with them. And parade day always had lots of both.
The big day finally arrived. I was up early. Preparations were made. The cart was decorated. Frank was harnessed. We set off for town. I asked to be last in the parade line-up, in case I needed to remove Frank or get out of the cart and guide him through the streets. The sirens blared and the procession began. This was it. We turned from the side street onto the main avenue and there they were: crowds and crowds, even more than usual, due to another weekend event. People were clapping and cheering. Frank's big moment had arrived, and he aced it, straight and steady, start to finish, a born parade horse. I was so incredibly proud of him, but so were so many others who had lined the streets and cheered him on, knowing that this was his first parade. What an encouragement.
Likewise, as Christians, we, too, are surrounded by those who cheer us on as we walk through the parade of this life. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who are all pulling for us, hoping that we ace it for Christ through our thoughts, words, and actions. So let us, therefore, continue to throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the parade route that God has marked out for us.
Prayer: Father God, thank You that we are not alone as we run the race You have marked out for us. Thank You for all those who consistently cheer us on from the sidelines of the spiritual realm. Bless us this day to remember that they are not judging us but running with us, co-partners for Jesus Christ, in this, our parade of life. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.