At this moment I am looking out at a smoke-filled sky. The smell of a historical forest fire season lingers faintly in my house. A few moments outside to play fetch with our German Shepherd is almost too much. Even with three cloth masks, the smell of the smoke is overwhelming but this poor girl has to run, even for just a couple minutes. She is now happily asleep next to me as I write. Just a few short weeks ago, we wrapped up the resilient faith guest blog series. This has certainly been a summer full of faith especially in the midst of such turbulent times. The passage from Hebrews has been rolling around in my soul since we heard from our last guest writer:
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. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith…Hebrews 12:1
It’s a bit ironic now that I am literally surrounded by a cloud.
This current cloud of smoke is so invasive. The smell of smoke feels equivalent to standing over a campfire and purposefully breathing in the fumes. It makes your eyes water, your lungs hurt, it has you holding your breath, and double checking the windows are sealed fully. Watching the news, we see this cloud has taken over the good part of the PNW. So many people are affected by this great cloud of smoke.
It makes me wonder if the author of Hebrews had this in mind when they wrote this phrase.
A cloud so dense and visible, that we are enabled by the mere presence of it to throw off whatever hinders our walk with God and run with endurance. The witnesses the author speaks off are stories from the Hebrew scriptures of Abraham, Moses, and Rahab. Yet, as I look over this summer’s blog series, we too have a great cloud of witnesses testifying to the greatest of God even in the midst of struggle. Today, in the year 2020 we can see a community of strength and endurance that is so invasive that we can’t help but hope in the coming kingdom of God. It was by faith our founding fathers and mothers continued to believe and
it is by faith we continue to believe today.
By faith, Debbie Sue Wilson crawled into the dark places and dared to see seeds planted, boldly sharing her story of healing so that others may find healing too.
By faith, Jamie Snell searched endlessly to find a community that filled her soul despite past struggle, she continued to knock on the doors of the church until she found a place for your soul to be fed. She now feeds the stomachs and souls of the hungry.
By faith, Janell Downing is discovering that the small consistent acts of contribution are growing seeds of faith that she never thought possible.
By faith, Kelly McGuffie found fresh faith on the other side of anger and heartbreak after years of being in the glasshouse of ministry.
By faith, Jessica Wilson continues to pursue the community of God despite it’s obvious flaws knowing that the church will eventually become fully what God intended.
By faith, Alexa Mason is boldly learning to unknow, accepting her lack of understanding in order to join the One who holds all understanding.
By faith, Camilla Storlie is discovering rhythms in life that continue to draw her deeper into connection with her heavenly Father.
By faith, Jenifer Swan is daring to live in the tension of unfulfilled longing and fragile hope for she knows that grace will continue to carry her.
By faith, Nicole Lewis is daring to leave the safe shore and step into the winds and waves for she knows the safest place is always beside Him.
Therefore, my dear sisters, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses let us throw off all the extra junk in our lives that keep us from loving God and loving our neighbors, and let us run together this race that is marked out ahead of us with resilience, setting our eyes on Jesus who has already done the work of making our faith what it is today and more.
By faith, we will endure.
This brings our Faith Resilience series to a close but there are more blogs to come! I have currently begun my third year of seminary and as much as it will be a challenge to keep blogging, I am going to try my best. I am praying and asking God what he would like for me to write about next and I also would like to ask you. What part of your faith journey do you faith most challenging right now? Perhaps your answers will lead me to my next blog series!
Till then, many blessings to you.