The Cloud Of Witnesses

Wednesday, May 20, 2020
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Kum Ba Yah My Lord"1 (Lyrics)

My father passed away suddenly when I was fifteen, and well I remember the stunned disbelief of family and friends at the loss of a vibrant, gifted husband and dad. In my memory, the funeral was surreal and muted; the still, pale figure in the coffin could not be the man I knew. My grandmother, grieving, bent over to kiss his cheek and murmur, "Good bye, dear". Even all these years later, my eyes fill with tears with the feelings of loss, for he left a void space in our family that nothing could ever fill. Yet, our family, his co-workers, neighbours, and friends pulled together, the feelings of helplessness and sorrow carried on all our shoulders.

What of the terrible distance now between us and the ones who have died of the virus, the victims of the mass shootings in Nova Scotia, Canada, the Canadian military personnel lost in the helicopter accident over the Ionian Sea, and Capt. Jennifer Casey killed in the recent Snowbirds crash? The pandemic has forced the grieving ones apart, for gatherings at funerals are prohibited, and the presence of family to comfort and stand together is no longer there to buffer the waves of sadness and loss. And what of our elderly parents in care facilities, separated by windows, masks, and gloves from their loved ones? How do we bear witness to the tragedies, to the loneliness, and to the kindness of caregivers who hold their hands when we cannot?

Hebrews 12:1-2a – Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. (ESV)

This great cloud of faithful men and women have gone before us, and we, though in sorrow, are witnesses to their faith and endurance in everything that they have experienced and lived through. Now we, too, run the race with endurance and commitment, being urged to be steady and not to turn aside from the course. Our great example is Jesus Himself, who is with us as the race starts, continues, and finishes at life's ending.

Though we ache for those who are devastated in our own country and abroad, and though we support them with our words and prayers, the world also watches our own faith and conduct. We train our eyes on Jesus, not on the cloud of witnesses, or on the sins that cling so closely, but on Him who gives us joy, life, encouragement, and guidance. In our journey on this good earth,

Philippians 1:6 – I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

Prayer: Dearest Lord, as we grieve for our lost loved ones and for the tragic victims of violence and accident and sickness, help us to keep our hearts and souls fixed firmly on You and Your goodness. Hear our prayers as we support and stand with the ones left behind in sorrow and great loss. In Jesus' mighty name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Shirley Moulton <>
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the encouraging words, Shirley.

    Amen, Shirley, thanks for sharing. Blessings.

    We do not grieve as those who have no hope.

    Thank you, Shirley, and may God bless you always!

    Thanks for a great and timely message.

    Thank you for today’s thoughtful meditation.
    You spoke for my heart and to my heart.

    Dear Shirley,
    Thank you for your words of encouragement and hope and how we should proceed. Many blessings.

    I cannot imagine losing my Dad when I was teen. My Dad and I were so very close; he was so much fun; our children adored him….and it makes me sorry for you to not have those experiences. Having said that may I say that your devotional, as with others you have written, is thoughtful and I appreciate your writings.

    Good morning Shirley
    Good words this morning, we pray for the families of those who are suffering every morning, but it is all so overwhelming isn’t it, and impossible to understand and comprehend. We lost our first little baby girl and I can still see her, all these years later, lying in the little casket in a baby dress which my wife knit in anticipation of her birth.
    Thank you for your good words.

    Thank you for this sensitive and timely DD.
    My family has not suffered loss, but my heart breaks for those who have not had the customary fellowship of others during the grieving and healing process.
    Praise God! Those of us in the great family of God, through our faith in Jesus, always have the “hope that is within us.” How reassuring!
    With gratitude for your meditation,

    Hello Shirley,
    Many thanks for your devotional this morning. During this time of the pandemic it certainly is difficult to stay a distance and not be able to hug and console those going through difficult life happenings. Thankfully, we can pray and meditate and feel the comfort of Jesus being there for us and reflect on His comforting words of reassurance.
    Blessings for these writings you submit.

    Excellent message in your devotional today!! Well worded and clearly focused. I was reluctant to read it when I saw the title because I’ve found so many people share them ‘cloud of witnesses’ as if they’re our loved ones watching over us. In my grief journey throughout this past year, if I believed that, my focus wouldn’t have been on the Lord but on my husband. When well-meaning people say he’s walking right beside me, coaching me. I tell them I know the Lord is and I talk to Him constantly and He guides me. My help comes from the Lord!
    Thanks so much for this encouraging devotional. I really appreciated it!

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