When I was at the closing rally of Tidal Impact (which of course was the opening rally of Oasis), I was thrilled to see the adults watching with delight from the bleachers as hundreds of youth worshipped on the floor of the Berwick Apple Dome! I know from conversations that I had after the session, that many of the adults were celebrating with, thanking God for, and praying for the youth they saw that evening. I couldn’t help but think of Hebrews 12:1, where we are reminded of the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us; living, worshipping and praying for us and those who will come after us. It was a beautiful picture! That is precisely the way a cloud of witnesses should look and act.
Two days later as I was outside early in the morning at my new house, I discovered another cloud, one much less pleasant and encouraging – mosquitoes!! As they whined around my ears and did their work of extracting my life-blood, I quickly started thinking about the two clouds and some possible similarities! Sometimes the cloud of Christians surrounding us is anything but pleasant; sometimes incessant whining and buzzing comes from it, as well as bites that cause completely unnecessary pain!
Sadly, if I am completely honest with myself I have to admit that I can sometimes slip in the mosquito cloud as well. It is all too easy to start complaining about something that I obviously could do better, or to forget the compliments and encouragement that I know I need to share with someone. The mosquito cloud isn’t where I want to be, but if I’m not attentive to my spiritual health, I quickly find myself there; helping nobody, complaining and just generally being a pain to others!
Like it or not, we are all part of the cloud of witnesses for the Christians around us. Let’s all make a real effort to not be the annoying, whining and painful part of the cloud for them, but instead to work at building them up, encouraging their efforts, comforting them in their painful times, celebrating their victories, and helping them in whatever way we can!