I recently came across a great anecdote about Florence Chadwick, the record setting long-distance open water swimmer. In 1952, having become the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions (and setting a time record each way!), Chadwick decided to attempt to swim the 26 mile channel between Catalina Island and the California coast.
She started off well, swimming with a small group of boats who were there to help if she got hurt or grew too fatigued and also to watch out for sharks. About 15 hours into her swim, a heavy fog settled over the channel, making it nearly impossible to see. Florence swam for an hour more before asking to be pulled from the water, convinced that she could not make it.
She then found out that she had stopped less than a mile from the shore.
In an interview afterwards, Chadwick said, "All I could see was the fog. I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it."
She tried again two months later, and the same thick fog settled in while she swam. This time, however, she made it--in large part, she said, because she kept a mental picture of the coastline in mind throughout her time in the water.
The past four weeks, we've considered our vision statement as a church and the ideas of 'love, share, grow, and serve'. As important as these concepts are, they are not to be our ultimate focus. Scripture puts it like this:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2)
Florence Chadwick successfully swam the Catalina Channel because she focused on the coastline, even when she couldn't see it. We can successfully "run the race that is set before us" when we focus on Jesus Christ, even when the fog of life can seem to cloud out our vision.
We'll consider this idea and wrap up our 'Vision' series this coming Sunday. As always, I invite you to join us in person or online as we turn our hearts and minds to the Lord, resting and rejoicing in what he has done for us.
Grace and peace,