Your Very Own Cheering Section

8:01 AMHeather

I've been to my share of sporting events as a mom--but even before that, as a sister-in-law. Chris' younger sisters (I can no longer say little--they are 5'9" and 6'1") are both gifted athletes. Carrie just swam at her last college swim meet as a senior at Bowling Green State University. She's attended college on a full swim scholarship. Lindsay plays volleyball, and has also played basketball, soccer, and in her much younger years, a version of t-ball we affectionately called tackle t-ball. Whichever 4-year-old happened to get the ball was nearly tackled by all the other little girls trying to grab it. It's been such fun to watch the girls excel in their sports. When my own kids play sports, I tend to restrain myself, lest I be labeled THAT kind of mom. But, when it comes to my sisters-in-law, no need. For some reason, every time Carrie swam in the state swim meet, it felt as though if I just yelled loud enough or stood up and strained forward I'd somehow push her past her competitors in their race.

I believe I've discovered that in those moments, I'm being a picture of Christ. On a blog post about a week or so ago, my friend Bronwyn pointed out her astonishment when she read that Jesus Christ was standing at the right hand of God when Stephen was stoned to death. I had to check that out myself. Sure enough, just look at Acts 7:55-56:

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw
the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
"Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing
at the right hand of God."

I had to go back and cross reference some Scripture to verify to myself that this was indeed, an unusual situation. In Hebrews 12:2, we are told that Jesus endured the cross and then SAT DOWN at the right hand of the throne of God. In Biblical times, the fact that Jesus sat down was very symbolic of the fact that his priestly duties were completed and the sacrifice was done. Sitting down meant that it was, as Jesus said on the cross, finished. Nothing further needed to be done for us to be pardoned.

So, if He was sitting, what made him stand? I believe that Acts 7 gives us a glimpse into our own personal cheering section. At those state swim meets, you can most certainly pick out the family of the competitors for each race. They are the ones standing, cheering, yelling, turning bright shades of pink and red as they rally their loved one to finish strong. Are we not all running the race of life? This marathon involves turns and twists and hardships and trials. We get weary and tired. We stumble and maybe even fall. And in some sections of the marathon, we may be crawling along, unsure how to continue on because the pain from the race is too much to bear.

If that is you--if you are just lying there, collapsed in a heap, and the finish line is nowhere in sight, then listen to me here. If you feel just like Stephen, hated and accused and about to be stoned to death, I have a good word for you. Jesus Christ is STANDING at the right hand of God cheering you on. He's yelling, "C'mon! You can do it! Press on! I'm right here for you!" He's the one yelling and cheering and turning pink because he's cheering for His child. The Bible says that He is FOR you. He's like the proud dad with the little photo button with YOUR picture on it so everyone knows you are His. That's what he accomplished on the cross.

Take heart and be encouraged by this passage in Hebrews 12:1-2:
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 us, and let us run with perserverance the race
marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the
author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him
endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right
hand of God.

INTENTIONAL challenge: Are you winded from the race you are running? Take some time to sit and rest. Pull out your Bible and read His love letter to you. Pray and ask him to show you how he cheers for you. Close your eyes and envision a Savior who is standing and cheering you on, through the hardest part of your race. Consider anything that is hindering your race, any sin that is entangling you. Throw them off that you may continue on. And meditate on this phrase. Your God is FOR you!

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