Last Friday we had the 58th annual Mayberry Marathon (annual high school track meet).

Seventeen schools competed so it was a long night. I was a picker at the finish line. My job was to pick the third place finisher, get a name, school, etc.

I saw some kids get lapped in events like the 3200 and it brought back some bad memories. We encouraged the young runners to finish strong, we told them things like: good run, way to go, yada, yada, yada.

God does this too.

In Hebrews 12 we are told there is a stadium full of heavenly saints that cheer for us as we run our earthly race. Imagine that God cheering us on while we go about our everyday business.

Sometimes we have trouble (John 16:33) like those runners on Friday night, but God is still with us (Psalm 23:4) and not only that, God is for us (Romans 8:31).

We can struggle wrapping our mind around this precept that we have cheerleaders in Heaven and God is the head cheerleader … let that sink in. God is for YOU and He is not against you or mad at you. He is not out to get you but rather He likes you.

We hear it a lot and it’s true — God loves us (nothing can separate us from that love, Romans 8:35). The best definition of love is wanting the very best for someone … so if God loves us He wants the best for us. Again, let that sink in … pretty amazing right?

It’s awesome to think that God through Jesus is our friend, a friend that sticks closer than a brother. I

If you don’t have brothers let me tell you that’s close. I have two and I’m not sure that I have had better friends.

I have a friend that I went to school with and he serves on a church staff in Katy, I love my friend a lot. We don’t see each other very often but we talk on the phone on a regular basis (talk, not text) and he always tells me he loves me and that he is for me. Some days that makes all the difference … in a sense my friend is a tangible expression of Jesus … the hands and the feet of Christ, the ultimate friend — my friend cheers me on to the finish line, helping me finish the race strong.

We need that, we all need that, some days more than others. Can I cheer you on today? God told me to do that.

Ken Ansell serves as a pastor in a small central Texas rural community. He is a local missionary and he fly fishes when he can.