"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible." - Hebrews 11:1-3 ESV
Then there is this chapter long list of people starting with Abel, Enoch and Noah stretching through the Hebrew scripture who believed God.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted." - Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV
The Bible says that we are surrounded in such a matter-of-fact way. Are we surrounded by all these people like athletes in a competition are surrounded by the crowd?
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." - Colossians 3:1 ESV
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved - and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus," - Ephesians 2:4-6 ESV
It is our perception that is going to keep us from getting weary or fainthearted. We must see the invisible. Fairy tales do keep people from getting discouraged but God wants us to be bolstered up by what is real and not fiction.
The world isn't just fire, stone, water and gravity. The World was made by words. Can you see them is Genesis? 'Let there be ____ .' and it happened because God said it.
Can you see the people? Can you see Abel and Enoch and Noah? We are sitting with them... or we will be. They will be like a cloud around us. I'm sure there will be that moment of recognition when the scripture is realized in our mind.
This cloud of witnesses is not just a concept to keep us from getting worn out. It is prophetic. It will happen.
"During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel - and God knew." - Exodus 2:23-25 ESV
Every time God helped Israel he was thinking of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and countless others.
Let's lay aside sin like it is something tangible and run the race that is set before us. It is a faith race. People will not know why you and I are going forward. They don't see the creation words. They don't believe in the cloud of witnesses. Jesus is not real them.
Our faith has power because it is based on someone real but unseen. It is based on someone who Is remembering His commitments.
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile." - Jeremiah 29:11-14 ESV