Sunday, February 03, 2008

Defeated by Fog

“We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.” I Corinthians 13:12, The Message

On July 4th, 1952, Florence Chadwick, a San Diego stenographer, dove off of Catalina Island to swim 22 miles across the ocean to the California coastline. Her goal was to cross the channel in record time. Long-distance swimming was not new to her. She had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions, successfully setting the world record for two consecutive years (1950 and 1951). She had proven herself capable of the challenge.

It was a very foggy day. The water was choppy and icy cold. The fog was so thick that at times Chadwick lost site of the guide boat that followed close by for her safety. And then there were the sharks -- ever present in their circling stalk. Several times the sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire.

Despite these difficulties Florence swam more than 15 hours before she asked to be taken out of the water. Though her trainer urged her to continue, she stopped before she reached the shore.

It was later discovered that she was in fact within sight of the shoreline, but had been unable to see it because of the thick fog. Realizing she had come so close to reaching her goal, Chadwick said to the reporters covering the story, “I could’ve made it if I had seen the land.”

A few months following this attempt she made a successful swim and reached her goal -- on a clear day. It wasn’t the fear, it wasn’t the fatigue, and it wasn’t the frustration that stopped Florence Chadwick from reaching the land. It was the fog.

The question we must each ask ourselves is this, “Will we let the fog stop us.”

Paul said, “We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist.” That describes much of what we call the Christian Life. That’s why it can only be lived by faith. So, keep at it – despite the cold, the sharks, and the fog -- the shore is closer than you realize.

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