As my friend appeared amidst the crowd of other runners, I could see she was struggling. She was around twenty miles into her marathon, and exhaustion was kicking in.
As she came closer, we began cheering! She looked up, and her face brightened. She stopped to chat for a few minutes, and, spurred on by our encouragement, she ran on with fresh energy.
The next day she told us she had been on the verge of giving up, but knowing we were there, cheering her on, had given her the strength she needed to finish the race.
This is the imagery of Hebrews 11 in describing a “large cloud of witnesses” cheering on the believer in Jesus. The Christian life is described as a race requiring endurance, and we all need support to keep going at times. I love how both Hebrews 11 and the song “By Faith” provide us with encouragement by pointing us to the lives of believers in Jesus who have gone before us.