Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Seeing Beyond the Fog

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." (Proverbs 29:18).

The California coast was shrouded in fog the morning of July 4, 1952. Twenty-one miles to the west, on Catalina Island, a thirty-four year-old woman waded into icy water and began swimming toward California, determined to be the first woman to ever swim the twenty-one mile strait. Her name was Florence Chadwick, and she had already been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.

The water was numbing cold that morning, and the fog was so thick that Chadwick could hardly see the boats in her own support party – there to scare away the sharks, and give her safe passage for this Olympic endeavor. As the hours ticked off, Chadwick swam on.

Fatigue had never been a serious problem, for her training had prepared her well to the task. However, the bone-chilling cold of the water was something they had not expected in July. More than fifteen hours later, numbed with the cold and exhausted physically, she asked to be taken out of the water. She simply could not go on any longer.

Her mother and her trainer, alongside her in a boat, urged Chadwick to go on, for they felt surely they were getting close to shore. Yet all Florence could see was dense fog. After a few more laborious strokes, she was taken out of the water – physically and emotionally spent. As the boat motored toward shore, they were stunned to discover they were in fact less than a hundred yards from success.

Chadwick shook her head in disbelief and said, “If it had not been for the fog, I would have seen the shore. And had I seen the shore – I would have made it.

For Florence Chadwick, it was not her arms, legs or lungs that failed her, but her eyes. Unable to see her goal, she lost heart and quit. Friends, the same happens to us – for such is the power of vision; or the loss of it.

Our journey with Jesus is filled with great challenge and ofttimes much fatigue, as we stroke through icy cold waters filled with ever-circling sharks. Yet, if we are able to see through the fog of confusion and have clear in our mind’s eye the goal of our journey, then the likelihood of finishing our course is assured.

And, for the record -- two years later, Florence Chadwick returned on a clear summer day and set a world record by accomplishing the feat which the fog had prevented.


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