By perseverance the snail reached the ark. – Charles Spurgeon
Florence Chadwick was the first woman to swim the English channel in both directions. Just a year after setting the world record, she attempted to swim the 26 miles between Catalina Island and the California coastline. After about 15 hours a thick fog set in. Florence began to doubt her ability, and she told her mother, who was in one of the boats that flanked her, that she didn’t think she could make it. She swam for another hour before asking to be pulled out, unable to see the coastline due to the fog. As she sat in the boat, she found out she had stopped swimming just one mile away from her destination. (Notable American women: a biographical dictionary completing the twentieth century, 2011)
Have you ever completely lost your confidence and given up? Maybe you were quite good at something but were surpassed by someone who was even better. Maybe someone said you will never be “good enough.” Perhaps a betrayal dissolved what confidence you had in others or even God. Maybe your health took away the skills that once bolstered your confidence. Or a grievous loss has devastated all your hope and tempted you to give up your faith.
Such times lead us into such a deep darkness we think no light could penetrate our grief. The book of Hebrews speaks to such a time when we are tempted to turn back on our faith and return to the hopeless ways of the world. Every time we forget God’s faithfulness, we need to “REMEMBER when you received the light that allowed you to endure suffering with hope. Don’t throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” (Hebrews 10:32-35)
When there is no readily apparently evidence for hope or confidence, we are called to persevere a little longer in God’s will, to reach the prize. Why? Because Christ is coming. Yes, it may seem like forever, but He is coming soon (v 36-37).
Two months after her failed California swim, Chadwick tried again. This time was different. The same thick fog set in, but she made it because she said that she kept a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam. She persevered and didn’t shrink back because she kept her mind’s eye on the shore.
That is the message for you and me today. Even in our darkest hours, don’t shrink back. Live by faith, not by sight. For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay… “My righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” (Hebrews 10:36-39)
Don’t shrink back. Watching for the light that pierces your darkness helps you to persevere. You are nearer to the heavenly shore than you realize.