The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

November 9, 2013

Surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses

Patsy Sorrels, columnist
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Looking through some old notes, I ran across a message Pastor Brad Mendenhall had preached several years ago.

He touched on something very dear to my heart in his message titled “Running with the Giants,” based on Hebrews 12:1-3, which begins ... “Therefore then, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses ...” and goes on to talk about stripping off and throwing aside every unnecessary weight and sin that so readily and cleverly clings to and entangles us, causing us to grow weary and faint in our minds.

So many times we grow tired of running life’s race, dealing with struggles and disappointments, trying to muster strength for yet another day, and we grow weary, lose heart and give up too soon.

Too many times we allow emotions and circumstances of life to distract us, steering us off course and away from all God has for us ... just as we are about to round the bend to our victory.

Scripture says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses; saints from old and loved ones who have gone on before us are watching from heaven, cheering as we run the race of life set before us.

Pastor Brad went on to talk about what some of heaven’s giants might say to us if they were here today, running this leg of our race alongside us. Let’s look at a few.

• Check out Noah — I imagine he might say “Trust in God for the long haul, even when it doesn’t make sense.”

You know the story. At a time when rain was unheard of, God commanded Noah to build an ark because the earth was depraved and putrid in God’s sight, and He would bring a flood upon the earth to make an end of all flesh, for through men, the land was filled with violence. (Genesis 6:11-13).

Could be today’s headlines, you think? It took Noah 120 years of ridicule and laughter to build that ark. Now, that’s some kind of faith!

• Ah, my girl Esther — She probably would say “You are here for such a time as this.” God has a wonderful plan for our lives folks, and He will strategically position us for that plan to unfold. He positioned Esther for such a time to deliver a nation, and He’ll do no less for us.

Remember: No place is out of place if you’re in God’s place. He has called you for such a time as this.

• Joseph might tell us — “Don’t get carried away with your current circumstances, they are subject to change.”

If you can see it, hear it, touch it, smell it or taste it ... it’s subject to change. Keep running your race, saints. Don’t quit.

Where you are right now doesn’t necessarily determine who you are or what your future holds.

God sees the end from the beginning. He’s already read the last chapter of your book, and it says, “You Win!”

• Gideon might tell us — “God can do great things with small numbers.”

You may think your life is small and insignificant, but God can take what you think is small and do great and mighty things with it. He will always cause us to triumph (2 Corinthians 2:14).

• What David might say — “It doesn’t matter what others think about you, God looks at the heart.”

Be content with who you are and where you are right now, for God will exalt you in due season (1 Peter 5:6).

• The young boy who gave his lunch to Jesus — I’ll bet he’d be first up to tell us, “God can take a small, insignificant gift and multiply it, reach thousands and then send you home with 12 times more than you had to start with.”

You cannot out-give God, my friends. He will take what you call small and unimportant, mix His super with your natural, add His anointing and change your situation, if only you’ll give him your little basket of five fishes and two loaves.

• The Widow of Zarephath in 1 Kings 17, I know would say to us, “When you reach the end of your rope, God will show up!”

Friends, when we get to the place where all hope is gone and there is nothing more we can do, God will show up! I know this because I’m a queen of the 11th hour. He is faithful, and He always shows up!

If you could fold back the clouds and look straight into heaven, who might you see looking down, cheering you on, encouraging you to hang in there, stay the course and finish your race?

Perhaps it’s a little praying grandma, a parent, a spouse or a Sunday school teacher.

I have a few heavenly giants of my own to boast about.

One in particular I know would say to his family, “Don’t quit, my babies, don’t get discouraged, and don’t give up! Walk strong and full of faith, for your victory is just around the bend.”

And then there’s my Jesus, who is so faithful to remind us He never will leave us or forsake us. We are never alone!

That was a good word, Pastor Brad, keep ’em comin’!

Keep the faith and worship somewhere today.

Sorrels is News & Eagle editorial assistant and can be reached at or at (580) 548-8140.