This example is used a lot in sermons and devotionals. It is an oldie but a goodie. I am asking you to think of the example I’ll shortly give in terms of prophecy.
Florence Chadwick was a young woman in 1952 but had already swum the English Channel, both ways, and broke records doing it. That morning in 1952 she stood on the shores of California with intent to swim the 26 miles to Catalina Island. It was foggy. She was used to fog, rough water, and cold, having swum in these conditions since when was 11 years old so she was prepared for any conditions that may beset her on the long swim. It was so foggy that Florence could not see the support boats motoring around her to scare away the sharks. However after 15 hours of rough water stroke after stroke, she felt like she wasn’t getting anywhere. Despite encouragement from her mother and others in the support boat next to her, Florence wearied and asked to be taken out of the water. She soon discovered that she was half a mile from her goal.
At a news conference the next day Florence said, “All I could see was the fog.…I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”
Florence tried again two months later. This time, she made it because she said that she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam.
Prophecy is not meant to BE the fog. It is knowable, profitable, and given to us for all education. It is a light to keep in our heart as to the immutable existence of God, His eternal promises, and the goal for every believer, to reach the eternal Lighthouse. There are end of time prophetic utterances in most of the Old Testament and in every book of the New except for four. And three of those four are single-chapter letters to one individual. Jesus meant prophecy to be the mental image for us to hold dear as to the goal. Do not give up half a mile from the finish line! He is near, He is coming. Do not wander, drift, be swept away by currents taking you far from the goal. May every stroke of your swim toward eternity be as vigorous as the one before. Pray for that vigor. The Holy Spirit is there to help us: “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” (John 14:16)
If you knew that the Rapture was tomorrow would it change your decision not to study the bible today? Not to pray? Not to help someone? If you knew it was next week, or next year, how differently would you act as a Christian? You’re tired. We are all tired. The wages of sin splash up on us, and sometimes splash into us. It is wearying holding firm against the current. But keep the goal in mind!
Most marathon swimmers swim between 60 and 70 strokes a minute. Therefore, a 10-hour swim would require 42,000 strokes, and a 14-hour swim would require 58,000 strokes-an incredible feat. That is a lot of energy to expend to make the landing, reach the goal. There are sharks in the water wanting to make you their dinner. There is flotsam, waves, hindrances such as tide or current. But there is the Spirit in the boat next to you, helping, guiding, encouraging. There are angels flying around you to scare away the demons. If you become defeated it is only because you closed yourself to help, succumbed to temptation to drift, and forgot the vision. The shore is near, and the goal is within our reach. Keep swimming! And soon, He will lift us from the cold and tormenting waters of sin … and we will fly!