Sue West

Sue West

“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” (Hebrews 13:14)

In 1952, Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Catalina Island determined to swim to the shore of the California mainland.

It is said of Mrs. Chadwick, “She was born to swim.” She was the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions; she weathered the Straits of Gibraltar, the Bosporus (one way) and the Dardanelles. The morning she began her journey into the English Channel the weather was foggy and chilly and the boats accompanying her were barely visible to sight. She swam an exhausting 15 hours before asking to be taken out of the water.

Her mother, who was in one of the boats accompanying her, said, “You’re so close, don’t give up, you can make it.” Extremely overwhelmed and fatigued she surrendered to exhaustion and was helped into the boat. It wasn’t until she was in the boat that she discovered the shore was less than a half mile away.

She traveled a great distance and could have made it a little longer if she only could have seen the finish line. In her own words 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.”

Can you relate to those words? We sometimes live our lives in a fog, blinding us from our destinies. We are wearied from the constant bombardments of spiritual battles. The cares of this life rob us of our strength. We just want to be taken out; we want the craziness to end; we want Jesus to come.

The uncertainties about the future can be discouraging. It seems we have been in the waters for so long. Weariness clouds our vision; giving up and becoming a Christian hermit seems safer than involving ourselves in our vocations. We forget in those times that God has put us here to help, to love and support one another. He wants us to know the shore is just a few miles ahead. Do not let this world get you down and cause you to pull back; swim a little longer. Soon, our faith will end in sight.

If the saints who are presently in Heaven were allowed to speak to us, as Mrs. Chadwick’s mother, I’m sure they would say something like this, “Oh my daughter, oh my son, press on, don’t turn back, don’t give up, you’re almost home.”

The people of God of all ages endured persecution and various trials because they had their hearts set on Christ. They knew to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord. Let us take courage today from Florence Chadwick’s experience and press forward; the celestial shoreline is very close.

I believe it can be said of the true church of Jesus Christ, “She was born to swim!”

As of this year I will be available to speak in your church or home Bible Study group. I can be contacted by email.

“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.” (Revelation 3:21-22)

Sue West can be contacted at

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