Fanless football. If you would have told me a year ago that I would watch a Sunday afternoon football game where the Falcons would play in Mercedes Benz stadium with no fans in the seats, I would have told you you’re crazy. Turns out you’re not crazy. Well, you didn’t tell me that a year ago because you weren’t crazy a year ago (Maybe I’m crazy for wasting my time watching the Falcons loose yet again). No fans at the game makes for strange television. When the cameras pulled away from the field to show the empty stadium, I was a little stunned. I’d been hearing the crowd noise. As a matter of fact, the crowd was so loud that I couldn’t hear the announcers very well. Turns out, the crowd noise was a recording. Someone even had the crowd boo at one point.
Hebrews 12:1 tells us that the stadium in which we live our lives is not empty. It says we are “surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.” It’s like the saints of the past are cheering us on, and it’s not a recording. I don’t think that passage means that the saints from the past are watching us from heaven, however. It’s more likely that God is reminding us that the witness of the past saints is louder than a recording to urge us to faithfulness as we serve the Lord.
It’s easy during difficult times to stumble or even get a little disillusioned. Don’t! The witness of the crowd is getting louder in the midst of persecution and difficulty. Stay the course! Run the race! Live out your faith loudly even though our secular society is saying we should be seen and not heard. One day when we cross the finish line, we’ll hear our Heavenly Father say, “Well done!”