It was a story of Florence Chadwick a competitive swimmer born in the early 1900’s. In 1952, Chadwick set out to swim a 26 mile stretch from Catalina Island to the California coastline. The story told how she was surrounded by small boats of supporters watching for sharks and ready to pull her out of the water if she ran out of steam. She had been swimming for some 15 hours when a heavy fog set in. Chadwick began convincing herself that she couldn’t complete the swim. She made it for another hour, but ultimately asked to be pulled out of the water. The fog was so thick and the shore seemed an eternity away. When she got in the boat, she soon discovered she had stopped swimming barely a mile away from her destination.
A couple of months later, Chadwick tried again. She met the same thick fog but this time she kept swimming. “What made the difference?” Someone asked her after she completed the swim, to which she replied, “I just pictured the shore in my mind.” In the words of Dorey from “Finding Nemo,” she just kept swimming.
Have you ever been hard at something, and felt like it wasn’t paying off, finding yourself in a thick fog of disillusionment? Have you asked the question, “What am I doing this for?” “Where’s the break?” “The shoreline?” “Where’s hope?”
I’ve found myself swimming through some thick fog in a number of areas of my life. Some days when the fog seems to be the thickest, the “easy” thing to do would be cry “UNCLE!! I’m done, pull me out!” But the thoughts of getting in the boat and realizing that the shore was just ahead, within reach, those thoughts haunt me.
Are you tired? Does exhaustion feel like its about to pull you under the waves surrounding you? Somebody reading this today needs to hear, what I heard this week when God “randomly” dropped this story in my inbox two different times from two different sources:
DON’T GIVE UP!!
Let me exhort you with Hebrews 2:2, if I may. The writer says to fix your “eyes on Jesus.” He is the inspiration of our faith, the one who pioneered the path in front of you. He’s been this way before, ahead of you. Hebrews says in another place that He was tempted like we are, even tempted to quit his journey to bring hope to humanity. But He didn’t. He saw something. The verse calls it “joy.” I think He saw you and I waiting for Him on the other side. That made Him happy, it brought Him joy. Because of His joy of living eternally with you and I, He pressed through the dark cloud of sin and hopelessness by way of the cross “scorning its shame,” yet He pressed through. The verse says He made it to the shore and “sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” He didn’t give up, and I’m so glad He didn’t, because now I can sit down at the right hand of the throne of God with Him.
I won’t even pretend to know what your situation is. I’ll just echo the words that woke my sleepy self up this morning, “Swim through the fog.” Don’t quit! Don’t give up! The shore is closer than you think.
Amen – so let it be.