• Stefan Youngblood

Persevering Through Shark Week

Feel like giving up lately? My son and I got kinda hooked on Discovery Channel’s, “Shark Week.” Why we would sit down with popcorn for an hour and wait for an actual shark attack, is beside me. Well, one week after, “Shark Week,” American endurance swimmer Diana Nyad jumped into Cuban waters and set off in a bid to become the first person to swim across the Florida Straits without the aid of a shark cage. The world watched as she swam for over 29 hours before giving into inclement weather and rough seas, some 59 miles from Florida’s coast. I think I would’ve given up after 20 minutes or so and boarded the boat traveling beside her. Not because I was tired, but I’d probably have to text someone, or update my Facebook status…or something. Seriously, her feat, at the age of 61, was nothing short of incredible.

Max Lucado recounts the following story. In 1952, Florence Chadwick attempted to swim the chilly ocean waters between Catalina Island and the California shore. She swam through foggy weather and choppy seas for fifteen hours. Her muscles began to cramp, and her resolve weakened. She begged to be taken out of the water, but her mother, riding in a boat alongside, urged her not to give up. She kept trying but grew exhausted and stopped swimming. Aides lifted her out of the water and into the boat. They paddled a few more minutes, the mist broke, and she discovered that the shore was less than a half mile away. “All I could see was the fog,” she explained at a news conference. “I think if I could have seen the shore, I would have made it.”

Take a long look at the shore that awaits you. Don’t be fooled by the fog of the slump. The finish may be only strokes away. God may be, at this moment, lifting his hand to signal Gabriel to grab the trumpet. Angels may be assembling, saints gathering, demons trembling. Stay at it! Stay in the water. Stay in the race. Stay in the fight.

Give grace, one more time. Be generous, one more time. Teach one more class, encourage one more soul, swim one more stroke. Don’t give up my friend. Need a little encouragement today? The following verses often remind me to never give up. I pray they strengthen you as well. “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:13-14

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Heb. 12:1-2

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