A record breaking, long-distance swimmer, she slipped into the water from the shore of the Catalina Islands intent on setting another mark. Her target was to be the first to swim all the way to the coast of California. She was strong, trained and confident; flanked by a team of safety boats prepared to offer protection should a shark come near or she was injured. She made steady progress for fifteen grueling hours, until a thick fog set in. The inability to see what lay ahead, combined with her exhaustion, caused doubt to creep in. Yet, with encouragement from her mother, riding in one of the boats, she pressed on for another full hour until finally she asked to be pulled from the water. Without her vision, she was convinced she was too far away to achieve the goal. What she found, as she sat in the boat, was that she was just one mile short of her intended destination.
Like Florence Chadwick in 1956, we, too, will experience unforeseen difficulties and setbacks along our way.When we lose our vision, it’s easy to fall prey to inner doubts. Perseverance- the resolve to press on toward the goal- is the power that fuels victory. So how can we access it when challenges arise?
1.Prepare in Advance. Florence didn’t just decide one day she could swim long distances. She developed her stamina, nourished her health and practiced daily. As believers we need to do the same. Nourish your body with healthy living but more importantly nourish your soul with daily time in the Word and personal communion with God. A heart invested with scripture, in strong relationship with the Creator, is able to push through adversity.
2.Surround yourself with a support group. When she took to the ocean, Florence was flanked by safety boats and loved ones to watch over her and encourage her. God didn’t intend us to walk through life alone. While it’s easy to withdraw from people when challenges strike, it isn’t wise to do so. Florence was able to swim a full hour longer than she thought because of the encouragement she received from her mother. The encouragement of Christian friends and family can help you press on past where you would alone.
3.Trust the path you are on- What Florence lacked at the end was vision. In life, there are often times when we cannot see with our own eyes. Florence had only herself to rely upon. But as believers, we need not rely on our own vision; we can rely-especially in the midst of difficulties and loss we can’t understand- on God’s perfect vision. Even when you can’t see the next step, as long as you remain on God’s path, you can be certain of making it safely through. God watches over you and nothing can cloud His view.
Message for the Journey:
Don’t give up when you are unable to see the shore. Trust that God will see you safely to the other side. While we are unable to see, because the fog of humanity clouds our vision, God sees all things. Whatever difficulty you’re facing, persevere—press on in faith. He will see you through.
Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised. Hebrews 10:36