In 1952, Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island, determined to swim to the shore of mainland California. She’d already been the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways.
The weather was foggy and chilly; she could hardly see the boats accompanying her. Still, she swam for fifteen hours. When she begged to be taken out of the water along the way, her mother, in a boat alongside, told her she was close and that she could make it.
Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled out. It wasn’t until she was on the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away. At a news conference the next day she said, “All I could see was the fog… I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”
Can you relate to those words? We live our lives in a fog of trouble, worry, doubt, depression, health problems, unemployment, financial uncertainty, strained relationships, and loss of loved ones. All these things create a fog. It’s difficult to see in front of us.
We end up focusing on the fog because we can’t see the shore. Sometimes we feel like giving up because we don’t have the strength to stay afloat any longer. This is where the people of God throughout the ages have had a source of Strength and Hope that makes us able to continue on the journey. It is Heaven!
The apostle Paul faced hardship, beatings and imprisonment. He said, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Paul knew where he was going. He was moving heavenward. As a runner sets his eyes on the finish line, Paul set his eyes on Heaven. He was able to see the shore. Heaven must become as real in our thinking as it truly is.
Consider Florence Chadwick’s words: “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”
Chaplain Ronnie Melancon