In 1950, American swimmer Florence Chadwick became the first female to swim the English Channel both ways. Two years later, she attempted to swim the channel between Catalina Island and the California coast. At 20 miles across, the Catalina Channel crossing is a mile shorter than the English Channel swim. But Chadwick didn’t make it.
The conditions were poor on the day of her attempt. A thick fog and cold temperatures cast the entire day under a pall of gloom. Chadwick swam for many hours, often unable to see even the boats that were accompanying her close by. Finally, after swimming fifteen hours, Chadwick stopped and was pulled from the water. It was then that she learned she was only half a mile from the coast. She later said, “All I could see was the fog.…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”
Life can be cold and foggy. Our souls are chilled by sickness, by tribulation, and by the mortality of ourselves and our loved ones. Our view of heaven can be shrouded in a mist of pressing responsibilities, cultural pressures, personal pleasures, and materialism.
If we lose sight of heaven, we may lose our motivation for striving to go there. Jesus encourages us to “strive to enter” (Luke 13:24). The apostle Paul said, “I press toward the goal” (Phil. 3:14). You must “show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized” (Heb. 6:11, NIV).
Yes, the world tends to obscure our view of heaven, but we can see it by faith. “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1, ESV).
The faith that you need to see the shore comes from God’s word (Rom. 10:17). Many New Testament references contain the promise of eternal life and the glorious inheritance of God’s children. A few passages of Scripture even depict the majesty of heaven in beautiful symbolic language; these may be found in Revelation chapters four and five, the last half of chapter seven, and in chapters twenty-one and twenty-two. Read them. Make yourself envision every detail. See it with your mind’s eye. Meditate on it. Let it draw you in. Picture yourself as one of the servants of God who dwells there. Gaze long and hard. Look deep. And if in your day to day life the gloom of this earthly life obscures your view, look again. See the shore. Finish the race.
– Steve Klein