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On a fog-shrouded morning, July 4, 1952, Florence Chadwick waded into the water off Catalina Island, intending to swim the channel from the island to the California coast. Long-distance swimming was not new to her; she had been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions.

The water was numbing cold that day. The fog was so thick she could hardly see the boats in her party. Several times, sharks had to be driven away with rifle fire. She swam more than fifteen hours before she asked to be taken out of the water. Her trainer tried to encourage her to swim on since they were so close to land, but when Florence looked, all she saw was fog. So she quit…only one-half mile from her goal.

She later confessed, “I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the land, I might have made it.” It wasn’t the cold or fear or exhaustion that caused Ms. Chadwick to fail. It was the fog.

Too often, we fail, not because we’re afraid or because of peer pressure or because of anything other than the fact that we lose sight of the goal. I pray instead that you would join the apostle Paul in proclaiming, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).

Two months after her failed attempt, Florence Chadwick walked off the same beach into the same channel and swam the distance, setting a new speed record, because she could see the land.