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The Value of a Witness – Hope on!


FearSometimes just being reminded that other people are making it and keeping the faith is enough.

Driving on the freeway sometimes scares me. Have you seen Matrix Reloaded? The freeway can be a death sentence. People are maniacs. They weave in and out of traffic, don’t slow down so you can merge, and drive way too fast.

Sometimes I take a much longer route just so I can avoid the hustle of 10 lanes and needing to constantly be on my guard at 70 miles per hour. In Arizona, the speed limit was 80. That’s crazy. But whenever I get really scared about it, I think about the thousands of people who drive it every day. Surely, I can be one of those people too (not the crazy ones). If they can, then so can I, and then I do it, and so far it’s worked out for me.

All of those people driving on the freeway are witnesses to me. Witnesses that it can be done, and that an average driver like me can do it. Of course, they also serve as beacons of idiocy in what I should avoid and how not to drive, but I won’t trouble you with those thoughts right now.

In a sense we’re all witnesses in some way or another. Aren’t we?

I guess in today’s world of everybody doing their own thing and to each his own, the value of witnesses is getting lost. We’re more removed from them—more isolated. I read a story about a girl who became a champion gymnast without the use of legs and who never let the words I can’t come out of her mouth, and I think that was her. There’s no way I could have that kind of perseverance.

We hear stories of courage, talent, and sacrifice, and those stories are theirs not ours. They could never be ours. Or could they?

When I was in my pit of despair—the lowest point of my life—struggling with depression, I didn’t think I could handle it all. It was too much for me. Too awful. Too far gone, but then somehow these stories would come to me. Stories about people who had it much worse than I did. Who were dying from cancer, whose husbands had left them, who had struggled with addiction, and how they had kept on going, found hope, and seen God work in their lives, and I said to myself, “If it could happen for them. If this good thing could come from their bad, then maybe it could for me too.”

by faithThey were my witnesses. They showed me that faith really did make a difference. That God answers prayers and gives strength. That good really does overcome the bad.

There’s a chapter in the Bible about witnesses. Hebrews 11. The words “by faith” are repeated over and over in it. By faith they faced death, were sawed in two, stoned to death. They are also my witnesses. They are our witnesses. If they could live and find hope in God even as their lives were ripped from them, then maybe so can I. So can you.

They were normal people, not extraordinary, but they trusted an extraordinary God. They believed to the point of death and beyond.  There are many stories of God sustaining the weak, of answers to prayer, of hope. I pray that those stories will find you in dark moments and that you will press on toward the hope promised to each of us.