“The race is not given to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but to the one that endureth until the end.” (Amalgamation of Ecclesiastes 9:11 and Matthew 24:13.)
Although I can’t remember all the details, one of my favorite parables is about a swimmer who set a personal goal of swimming 10 miles in an hour and a half. A boat would carry her 10 miles out and remain anchored there in case she felt unable to complete the race against the clock. If, for some reason, she couldn’t complete the race, all she would have to do was stop swimming and wave her arms in the air. The captain of the boat would keep a close eye out for the signal.
On the day that her swim was scheduled, the weather was unusually cold and a dense fog settled all around her. She felt quite nervous on the ride out and began to doubt herself and question whether this was a good idea. She’d never had to swim in these conditions. Maybe she should wait until a sunnier day.
Determined, she decided to go for it in spite of the conditions. Ten miles out, she jumped off the boat into the freezing ocean water. She swam, and swam, and swam for what felt like an eternity. Was she even headed in the right direction? With each stroke she felt further and further from her goal. She was so cold. The fog was so thick. She lost track of time. She started to lose hope. About an hour into the race, she stopped swimming and flailed her arms.
The boat headed towards her. When it arrived, the captain informed her that she had almost made it to shore. She actually only had another 40 yards to go before she reached her goal. She had made excellent time. He inquired about why she had given up.
The swimmer responded, “The water was so cold, and the fog was so thick. I couldn’t see the shore. I felt like there was no way I could make it.”
That’s how it is with us. When our blessings are nearby, the waters can get extremely cold and the fog a little too thick. It is during this time that Satan will do whatever he can to get us to give up before we reach the shoreline.
I had to remind myself of this story today because for the past year I have been working diligently to obtain a certificate in Human Resources Management. I spent tons of money that I didn’t have for the program. I spent countless hours studying, working on projects, attending 4 ½ hour classes, and sacrificing time with my family to make it through the program. None of the effort spent guarantees that a job in HR will be waiting for me when I finish. I don’t see any opportunities on the horizon. I am BEYOND tired! It is taking everything in me to turn in that final assignment or to attend those last few classes. I feel the self doubt trying to creep in. Yet, I am determined to continue on.
The difference between the swimmer who couldn’t see her goal and me is that I can see the shoreline. It will be here December 10th. I must endure. My blessings are there waiting for me to reach them.
“The race is not given to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but to the one that endureth until the end.”