Monday, February 14, 2011

Just Keep Swimming

In D.A. Carson’s book A Call to Spiritual Reformation: Priorities from Paul and His Prayers, he submits that the “Christian life can be lived faithfully only if it is lived in light of the end.” To illustrate his point, he told this true story:

In 1952, a young woman by the name of Florence Chadwick stepped off the beach at Catalina Island and into the water, determined to swim to the shore of mainland California. She was already an experienced long-distance swimmer: she was the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways. The weather was foggy and chilly on the day she set out; she could scarcely see the boats that would accompany her. For fifteen hours she swam. She begged to be taken out, but her trainer urged persistence, telling her again and again that she could make it, that the shore was not far away. Physically and emotionally exhausted, she finally just stopped swimming, and she was pulled out. The boats made for the shore, and she discovered it was a mere half-mile away.

The next day she gave a news conference. What she said, in effect, was this: “I do not want to make excuses for myself. I am the one who asked to be pulled out. But I think that if I could have seen the shore I would have made it.”

Two months later she proved her point. On a bright and clear day, she plunged back into the sea, and swam the distance.

Carson goes on to say this:

Brothers and sisters in Christ, at the heart of all our praying must be a biblical vision. That vision embraces who God is, what he has done, who we are, where we are going, what we must value and cherish. That vision drives us toward increasing conformity with Jesus, toward lives lived in the light of eternity, toward hearty echoing of the church’s ongoing cry, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” That vision must shape our prayers, so that the things that most concern us in prayer are those that concern the heart of God. Then we will persevere in our praying, until we reach the goal God himself has set for us.

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