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. ~ Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV
Today is November 1st, All Saints’ Day, and on this day, I’m remembering, and missing, some of the saints who touched my life:
These people were ordinary people -- dads, moms, some were grandparents; going to work, raising their children, serving at church, their children's schools and sports teams, and in their community in humble ways-- but you could tell simply by being in their presence, just how strongly God’s hand was upon them and how brightly the Person of the Holy Spirit shone from within.
They were spiritual mentors and role models. They lived well, loved well and served well.
Each one of them loved the Lord God, as it says in Scripture, with all their hearts, souls, strength and minds.
In their times of struggle, loss, pain and illness, they trusted the Lord with everything they had. When hit hard and knocked down by storms and fiery trials, they wouldn’t instantly whine “Why me??!”, but had learned instead to ask, “What lesson does God want me to learn here?” Being a whiner myself (and coming from a long line of whiners), I was blown away by their godly confidence, perseverance, and their total trust in the Lord God. And I’m learning, slowly, as I go through my own trying times, to ask the latter question, rather than the former, thanks to these beautiful saints.
No matter what they were going through or what heavy burdens they were carrying at the time, they took the time to reach out and encourage others, making them feel welcome, special, cared for and yes, loved: at church, in their homes or in their hospital rooms, as I recall Janette Rein and Dee Hunt doing for me.
These were people who didn’t just SAY they were going to pray for you -- they would grab your hand, pull you aside and pray with and for you right on the spot.
Or right over the phone. I remember clearly one instance where I made a desperate call to Dee Hunt and realized too late that she was in Disney World on vacation with her husband, son and grandsons. In fact, she hadn’t even gotten out of the car yet, they were just pulling into a parking spot. I apologized profusely and was about to hang up, but Dee wouldn’t hear of it. I heard her tell her family to just go on for a bit, she’d catch up with them, there was a spiritual battle to be fought. I will never forget that she did that for me.
And one sweet sister in particular, Dawn Hunter, ALWAYS seemed to know whenever I was in the greatest need and at the end of my rope. She would call to pray for me and give me a timely word from God, to comfort me or convict me.
Each of these precious, staunch prayer warriors wore their full armor of God at all times, and would make sure that you had on yours.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see their sincere, loving and dazzling smiles, which, like their laughter, was contagious and comforting. The joy of the Lord was indeed their strength.
Each one had a desire to see everyone they met or had a relationship with come to know that they too were ordinary people who were loved by an extraordinary God, sinners saved by grace.
Those of us who knew them felt that each was taken home much too soon. I’m so grateful for how each one touched my life….some in small ways, some in big ways.
I miss them dearly.
I remember them often.
I remember them today.
I know I will see them all one day.
A cloud of witnesses
Lined up on a street of gold
As they run the final mile
That leads them to a throne.
And through the cloud of witnesses
They see God upon the throne.
And as they fall into His arms,
They know they're home in
A cloud of witnesses,
Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses. ~ Cloud of Witnesses, by Mark Schultz