Sermon Illustrations

The California coast was shrouded in fog the morning of July 4, 1952. Twenty-one miles to the west, on Catalina Island, a thirty-four year old woman waded into the water and began

swimming toward California. She was determined to be the first woman to ever swim the twenty-one mile strait. Her name was Florence Chadwick. She had already finished an accomplished swim in the English Channel in both directions.

The water was numbing cold that morning and the fog was so thick that Chadwick could hardly see the boats in her own party. . . .there to scare away the sharks. As the hours ticked off, she swam on. Fatigue had never been a serious problem; it was only the bone chilling cold of the water that was threatening. More than fifteen hours later, numbed with the cold, the swimmer asked to be taken out. She couldn’t go on any longer. Her mother and her trainer, in a boat alongside her, urged Florence to go on, as they were getting closer to the shore. Yet all she could see was the dense fog. A few minutes later, the swimmer was taken out of the water, and later, realizing she had been within a half-mile of the shore, she blurted out, "I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen the shore, I might have made it."

Florence Chadwick had been licked, not by the cold or even by the fatigue, but by the fog!

The fog had obscured her goal, it had blinded her reason and her eyes. (Illustrations for Biblical Preaching, Michael P. Green, p. 165-166).

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