Tag Archives: perserverance

Swimming in the Fog

Story of the Day for Thursday March 8, 2012

Swimming in the Fog

                               My soul is very troubled. How long, O Lord, how long?

                                                                 Psalm 6:3

On July 4, 1952, Florence Chadwick attempted to become the first woman to swim the twenty-one miles from Catalina Island to the California coast.

The fog was so thick, however, she could barely see the support boats accompanying her. After fifteen hours and fifty-five minutes, she begged to be taken out of the water. Soon after she got in the boat, Chadwick discovered she was only half a mile from shore.

At a news conference the next day, she said, “All I could see was the fog . . . I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

 

Marathon runners who know how much further it is to the finish line are better able to summon the strength to reach their goal. But, with most things in life, we’re like Florence Chadwick: we know the goal we want to accomplish, but we have no idea how close we are to reaching it. We live in a fog.

Louis L’Amour has more than 300 million copies of his books in print, but, in the early days, he says, “There was a steady flow of rejection slips.” He was not exaggerating. Publishers rejected his submissions 200 times before the first one was accepted.

If you knew your 200th story would usher you into a life of fame and fortune, you wouldn’t mind your 199th rejection slip. In fact, it would be kind of exciting. But, if you didn’t know whether your writing would ever be accepted by a publisher, your 199th rejection slip would be pretty discouraging, wouldn’t it?

 

The psalmists often ask God a question for which they never get an answer: “How long, O Lord?”

We’re encouraged to ask the Lord the same question – even though we’ll get the same answer they did. All the same, even groaning to God is an act of faith.

We don’t know how many more job applications we’ll have to fill out before we land a job. We don’t know how many prayers we’ll have to make on behalf of a loved one who is breaking our heart. How many more strokes did Florence Chadwick need to make before she reached her goal? How many more manuscripts did Louis L’Amour need to mail before he earned his first dollar?

The key is to take a deep breath, trust the Lord, and keep at it.

 

If we never know when the answers will come, is there ever a time to give up? I guess so. James Reeve’s little poem speaks about just such a time:

The King sent for his wise men all

To find a rhyme for W.

When they had thought a good long time,

But could not think of a single rhyme,

     “I’m sorry,” said he, “to trouble you.”

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Pick Up the Bowling Ball

Story of the Day for Tuesday August 23, 2011

Pick Up the Bowling Ball

                     They will still bear fruit in their old age. 

                                                            Psalm 92:14

 Dale Davis grew up with a passion for bowling. As a youngster, he got a job setting up pins in a bowling alley. When he left the Navy after World War II, he won $2500 in a bowling tournament in California.

But, around the age of sixty-eight, he began losing his eyesight to macular degeneration. He is now legally blind, and has only slight peripheral vision out of his right eye. Dale’s blindness forced him to give up bowling.

He moved from California to his hometown of Alta, Iowa, where he lives with his sister. She assists him with his blindness, but doesn’t coddle him. She encouraged him to begin bowling again.

Dale can’t see the pins. He can’t see the bowling lane, and sometimes can’t even find his bowling ball. But if he bends over and cocks his head sideways he can make out the small dots on the floor that show him where to stand.

Although he is frail-looking, he still uses the heaviest ball, and brags that he weighs 130 pounds – as long as he’s holding his bowling ball.

 

When we’re young, we’re always growing and getting better at things. We can throw a ball farther, learn to play chess or earn a driver’s license. It’s exciting.

But, when we get old, it’s not quite as exciting to slowly decline. As the body slows and the memory fades, many older people feel a sense of frustration because they can’t do what they used to do.  When we’re young we often envy other people, but when we get older, we tend to envy ourselves – we envy the person we used to be.

 

As we age or become handicapped by disease or injury, we can’t accomplish the things we used to, but the comforting thing is that we don’t need to. Our worth, in God’s eyes, is not based on achievement.  Once we’re freed from a sense of attainment by God’s grace, we can then focus on the lordship of Jesus – which means that our life is not about accomplishing what we want, but what he wants.

And what Jesus wants is that we will accept what he gives us each day, and use it as best we can for his glory.

 

Dale Davis was no longer as strong and agile as he used to be when he won bowling tournaments as a young man. At the age of 78, he was slow and bent over. But, even with his age and blindness, he did what he could.

And that’s the point.

On the final day of the bowling league season in Alta, Iowa, Dale Davis became the first person in the history of Century Lanes to bowl a perfect game.

 

In the end, however, it’s not about perfect games; it’s about the courage to pick up the bowling ball.

                                            (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

Swimming in the Fog

Story of the Day for Tuesday May 17, 2011

Swimming in the Fog

                              My soul is very troubled. How long, O Lord, how long?  

                                                                                   Psalm 6:3

On July 4, 1952, Florence Chadwick attempted to become the first woman to swim the twenty-one miles from Catalina Island to the California coast.

The fog was so thick, however, she could barely see the support boats accompanying her. After fifteen hours and fifty-five minutes, she begged to be taken out of the water. Soon after she got in the boat, Chadwick discovered she was only half a mile from shore.

At a news conference the next day, she said, “All I could see was the fog . . . I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

Marathon runners who know how much further it is to the finish line are better able to summon the strength to reach their goal. But, with most things in life, we’re like Florence Chadwick: we know the goal we want to accomplish, but we have no idea how close we are to reaching it. We live in a fog.

Louis L’Amour has more than 300 million copies of his books in print, but, in the early days, he says, “There was a steady flow of rejection slips.” He was not exaggerating. Publishers rejected his submissions 200 times before the first one was accepted.

If you knew your 200th story would usher you into a life of fame and fortune, you wouldn’t mind your 199th rejection slip. In fact, it would be kind of exciting. But, if you didn’t know whether your writing would ever be accepted by a publisher, your 199th rejection slip would be pretty discouraging, wouldn’t it?

The psalmists often ask God a question for which they never get an answer: “How long, O Lord?”

We’re encouraged to ask the Lord the same question – even though we’ll get the same answer they did. All the same, even groaning to God is an act of faith.

We don’t know how many more job applications we’ll have to fill out before we land a job. We don’t know how many prayers we’ll have to make on behalf of a loved one who is breaking our heart. How many more strokes did Florence Chadwick need to make before she reached her goal? How many more manuscripts did Louis L’Amour need to mail before he earned his first dollar?

The key is to take a deep breath, trust the Lord, and keep at it.

If we never know when the answers will come, is there ever a time to give up? I guess so.  James Reeves’ little poem speaks about just such a time:

The King sent for his wise men all

To find a rhyme for W.

When they had thought a good long time,

But could not think of a single rhyme,

     “I’m sorry,” said he, “to trouble you.”

                                          (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)