The Cloud of Witnesses

I’ve been meaning to write about some current goings all weekend. And even now while I have the time to write, by the Spirit I’m compelled not to write about that so much as I am to write about this moment right now and something that I have just realized.

While we live, there are many people who share in the testimonies of our lives. Sometimes, these are people whom we meet and only know for a moment, such as a chance passing in a grocery store, or someone you nod to in a public restroom. There are those folks whom you might meet at a more organized gathering with whom you have conversations, and for just the moment share similar characteristics and interests. And even more, there are people we share working or living spaces with, that we merely see them in passing, but their placement in those moments helps to add to the narrative of our lives.

Then there are those folks that stick around a bit more. We call them friends. People who come in various degrees, but all have this shared lens into our lives. People with whom we are strong and at the same time vulnerable. We might know them loosely or intimately, but they are tied even more towards how we live our life than even those relational tethers would indicate. These are the folks who know how we lived.

There’s a passage of Scripture in the book of Hebrews which talks about these kinds of attachments as they breathe a testimony into their lives, but also into our own (Chapter 12). They refrer to those people who came before, alongside those folks living right now as part of this “great cloud of witnesses.” People whose lives are a literal testimony to how we lived ours, as they not just intersected our paths, but also passed along parts of their faith with us.

In dealing with a very present and taxing issue right now, I realized the cloud that’s around me. I reached out to several people with whom I’ve shared laughter and tears to ask them for strength for this moment. In many respects, I needed to be covered by a cloud of people who could refresh me.

That list of people I just messaged for prayer serves as my cloud. No matter where I am in the world, and no matter how long I’ll know them intimately, they will be able to give an account of my life (for better or worse) and it will add to the narrative that becomes “who has Antoine been.”

In times past, it has been very hard to rely on, let alone recognize this cloud. And when I have, its usually been just the close few (4). Today was such that I needed to reach a little higher, reach out a bit more, and find strength, or at least a moment where I’m not under tears’ duress so that I might continue to trust God concerning… and live this life as a testimony to all peoples.

I hope that you can find that group of persons that can and do speak and pray for you in those harder times. Some moments are harder to bear than others, and we all need that kick of refreshing words and hearts.