This weekend I was suppose to go to a wedding....Instead, I ended up going to a funeral. Odd change of plans, don't you think? But, isn't that just the way life works? It can be so terribly unpredictable that I think most of us don't think about all the things that could happen to us in a given day, or we'd all go insane ( or at least that's my guess...).
However, this afternoon when I was saying goodbye to one of the most remarkable ladies I've had the privilege of knowing... I say this because I knew her only towards the middle/ end of her life and those years were so full of generosity and kindness and a general sweetness of spirit, that is often lacking late in life. So, here I am in the relative "morning" years of my own life and I can only pray that I might finish my race as strong as she did. Anyway saying my goodbyes to this wonderful woman, Helen Kinnaird, got me thinking....
She truly was someone to aspire to, and more than that she's no longer on this earth. And I really do feel some sort of hole has been left behind in her place. She has also left behind a standard of what a gracious woman of God should look like, and in her absence I think we are called to step up. Now, of course, this seems personal-as in only a call to those who knew this lovely lady...but I promise that it's even bigger than that!
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.
Never before had I thought of all the large holes that the "cloud of witnesses" have left behind as they have left this world in such a personal way! But it is personal! Imagine a wonderful prayer warrior fighting away in their prayer closet for hours at a time, days on end, imagine how many lives they have interceded for over the years! And, then imagine that this person passes away....WHO is praying for those on that person's list?! Who is witnessing to the lost? Who is loving the loveless? Who is binding up the wounded hearts, when those who have lived and then died for the world around them pass on?
I suppose what I'm saying, is that instead of looking to the saints that walk before me in my life now as well as those who have already gone before me into the next as just "inspiring people"...I should instead take it to task that the holes they leave behind must be filled!
Where are tomorrow's Hudson Taylors, Charles Spurgeons, D.L. Moodys....where are the new Amy Carmichaels...or even just tomorrow's Helen Kinnairds? That cloud of witnesses is not just there to speak of all that the Lord has done in their day, but to remind me what He can do through me in my day....
Today that cloud of witnesses got a little bigger, it has one more shining face to cheer the rest of us on, and onward we should go! In so many ways I need to grow in order to be one day called "kind" or "gracious" or "patient", but there is a hole and for now I am called to fill it....are you?