I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 3:14
We live in a beautiful beach town, Dana Point, on the coast of Southern California. We never tire of the view. On most days when we are near the water, we see Catalina Island, twenty-six miles offshore. There are a few days when it is foggy and you can’t see it, but it is forever etched in our minds. People board boats from the harbor in our town to visit this magical island every day of the year. Some people take a fifteen-minute helicopter flight. A few brave souls paddleboard to the island, but very few ever try to swim there.
In 1952, Florence Chadwick decided to swim from Catalina Island to the shores of Southern California. She had already swum the English Channel, so in her mind, this would be easier. She jumped in the water one cold day in winter. No problem for Florence Chadwick. But as she swam hour after hour with a boat following her to make sure she was all right, fog settled in and she began to wonder how much farther she had to go. At last she motioned for the boat to pick her up. As it turned out, Florence was only a half mile from reaching her goal. She wasn’t too exhausted or cold. The fog had simply obscured her vision from her target. So she quit.
On the day of our wedding, we had a goal: to draw closer to each other and closer to God. Too many times, though, the weight of home responsibilities, work pressures, kid worries, and all the rest fog our vision for closeness. Spiritually speaking, everyone has foggy days. But God is there to say to us in His quiet, persistent voice, “Don’t quit. Persevere. Do all you can to keep your eyes focused on the prize.”
The writer of Hebrews gave us a formula for perseverance: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (12:1-3). The way not to grow weary and lose heart in your marriage is to keep your eye on the goal. Stay focused on Jesus, our goal, our sustainer, our Savior.
• Has there been a time when fog surrounded our marriage?
• What areas of our lives do we need to persevere in right now?
• How can I help you do that?
A STEP CLOSER:
GOALS FOR OUR MARRIAGE
Together come up with three goals for your marriage relationship to work on in the next month and list them below. Then think of three action steps that would help you accomplish those goals. Now circle what you can work on this week.
(Excerpted from Closer: 52 Devotionals to Draw Couples Together by Jim and Cathy Burns; Bethany House, 2009.)