It was a fog-shrouded morning, July 4, 1952, when a young woman named Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island with a goal to swim the twenty-one mile channel from the island to the California coast. Long distance swimming wasn’t new to her as she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.
The water was numbing cold that day. The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party. Several times sharks had to be driven away, but she continued to swim. Fifteen hours into her swim she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were so close to land, but when she looked, all she could see was fog. So she quit…only one-half mile from her goal.
Later, after realizing she had been so close to reaching her goal, she said, “I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land, I might have made it.” It wasn’t the cold water or the fear of sharks or fatigue that caused her to fail – it was the fog that had blurred her reason and obscured her eyes.
Many times in the church as well in the Christian life, we too fail, not because of fear or external circumstances, but because we lose sight of the goal. That may be why Paul penned in Philippians, “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.”
A few weeks ago, our church initiated a goal to build a new building on property that was purchased many years ago. A daunting goal to raise $650,000 in the next two years. It is a God-sized goal, knowing that without His blessing and provision, the funds will not be reached. We have given the name of our campaign as “VISION 2020” and believe that “all things are possible with God.” I am excited to see how God will work in our fellowship and in the community as we reach that goal for the glory of God and His Kingdom.
Along the way I am sure there will be the cold water of naysayers and the fog of doubters that will attempt to obscure the sight of our goal. I would simply remind them of what God said to Abraham when He informed him that he and Sara would become parents in their old age and Sara laughed at the idea: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
By the way, two months after her failure, Florence Chadwick walked off the same beach into the same channel and swam the distance, setting a new speed record, because she could see her goal.
Pressing toward the goal,