“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)
Have you ever felt like you just wanted to quit? Have you felt the ache in your spiritual legs, the weakening of your once-strong heart, the smoldering of the fire in your belly? I certainly have. I’ve also realized how many around me feel the same way.
I was at a cross country race pondering my discouragement when my sister-in-law picked up her megaphone. She wasn’t cheering for me, but her son, Stu.
Seventy anxious young men stood poised at the starting line. When the shot fired, the herd of boys began their 3.1-mile run through the woods. As soon as Stu’s foot left the starting position, Pat began to yell through her megaphone.
“GO, STU!” she cheered — not once, but at 10-second intervals. When he was out of sight, she ran to another spot along the winding trail where the runners would eventually pass. Even though the boys were nowhere in sight, Pat continued to cheer, “GO, STU!”
When I questioned whether or not he could hear her, she replied, “I don’t know if he can hear me or not, but if there’s a chance he can, I want him to hear my voice cheering him on.” So, for 16 minutes, she continued to pump courage and confidence into her son’s heart.
After the race, I asked Stu, “When you are running through the woods, can you hear your mother cheering for you?”
“Oh, yes,” he answered with a chuckle. “I can hear her the whole way.”
“And what does that do for you?” I inquired.
“It makes me not want to quit,” he replied.
“When my legs ache and lungs burn, when I feel like I’m about to get sick, I hear my mom’s voice cheering for me, and it makes me not want to stop.”
The Bible tells us, “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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Can’t you see that cloud of witnesses on the sidelines? “You go, girl! Don’t give up! Keep on running! Focus on the finish line!” They are cheering for YOU.
And get this … Jesus is praying for you! Romans 8:34b says, “Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (NIV). It doesn’t get any better than that.
I learned a few facts about foot racing once. As you near the end of a race, your throat burns, your legs ache, and your whole body cries out for you to stop. That’s when family, friends and fans are the most valuable. Their encouragement helps you push through the pain to the finish.
And that’s the power of a woman’s words to encourage someone else to keep running. That’s the power of your words. An uplifting word, offered at the right moment, might make the difference between someone finishing well or collapsing along the way.
Heavenly Father, I’ll admit, sometimes I feel like the race is just too hard for me. Help me remember the cloud of witnesses cheering for me to keep my focus on the finish line. Thank You for Jesus, who lives to intercede for me daily. Help me to be a conduit of encouragement for those running the race with me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY
1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (NIV)
Hebrews 3:13, “But encourage each other daily, while it is still called today, so that none of you is hardened by sin’s deception.” (CSB)
Did you know the words you speak can echo in others’ hearts and minds — long after they are spoken? Your words become the mirror for others to see themselves. To become a woman who speaks life to those around you, read Sharon Jaynes’ book, The Power of a Woman’s Words: How the Words You Speak Shape the Lives of Others.
Head over here to sign up for Sharon’s FREE 5-day “Taming the Tongue” Challenge!
REFLECT AND RESPOND
Think of a time when someone reached out with a kind word that encouraged you to keep going.
Consider purchasing a set of pom-poms at a dollar store or craft store, and put them in a vase as a reminder to encourage others.
Now, ask God to show you someone in your life who needs an encouraging word today. In the comments section, we’d love to hear who you plan to encourage!
© 2020 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.