A Steadfast Mind

In a constantly changing world, with pressures from every area of our life – job, health,
family and others, it is hard to stay focused on God and his promises. The mind can be a
battlefield with God’s promises, His faithfulness and goodness on one hand, and on the
other hand, there is all the thoughts and emotions which the pressures and needs the world
brings upon us. I came across the story of Florence Chadwick, a woman with great focus and
accomplishments but who quit when faced with something she never comes across before.
Florence, an American long-distance swimmer was the first woman to swim the 21 miles of
the English Channel both ways. But Florence failed to swim the 22 miles of the Catalina
Channel because of the fog.

The 22-mile swim of the Catalina Channel seemed not to be a problem at all because
Florence has done greater distances and conquered more difficult challenges. She was
prepared for sharks, jellyfish, currents, winds and tides. She was in shape and motivated to
be the first woman to accomplish it. But there was one element that Florence wasn’t ready
for… fog!
When Florence got into the icy cold waters one July morning in 1952 and began the swim,
the fog was so thick that she couldn’t even see the support boats that followed her. Several
times her support crew had to scare away the sharks with rifles. But Florence wasn’t
worried about the sharks or any other elements. Her concern, every time she looked up to
see the coast of California, was that she could see nothing. She saw nothing but the fog.
Florence swam for more than 15 hours while America watched on television. Her trainer
and her mother encouraged her from one of the support boats. But every time Florence
looked up… Fog.

Florence looked up one last time. As she scanned the waters in front of her, desperate for a
glimpse of her goal, she wrestled mentally, fighting to persevere, thinking about all that she
had accomplished: She swam the English Channel both ways, she was the first woman to
complete many of these swims and she beat the men’s record almost every time. Today
would be another victory… But all she saw was fog. Florence asked her support boat to take
her out of the water. It was the only time she had ever quit. She was only less than a mile
from the California coast when she gave up. The fog had defeated her. She was defeated
because she couldn’t see her finish line.

Like Florence, many of us lose heart because of the fog of life’s circumstances. Isaiah 26:
3,4 says “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they
trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself is the Rock Eternal.”

A steadfast mind and perfect peace are two things we enjoy if we do not lose hope and
continue to trust our God no matter what. The above verse tells us why we should trust the
Lord forever. It is because he is the Rock Eternal. Our God never fails us or forsakes us, and
He is faithful and true to His promises.

James 1: 8, talks about a “double-minded personwho is unstable in all his ways. Such a
person always hesitates and is uncertain and unreliable about everything they think, feel, or
decide. The battle for trust in our lives begins in our minds. If we trust the LORD, it will show
in our actions, but it begins in our mind.
Hebrews 12: 1–3, gives us the secret to having a steadfast mind and keeping the faith. It
encourages us to firstly throw off everything that hinders (bringing every thought and
imaginations of our heart in obedience to Christ) and run our race with perseverance.
Secondly, it encourages us to fix our eyes on Jesus, who knew us even before we were
formed in our mother’s womb and who will see us through to the end. If we fix our minds
on Jesus, we will not grow weary and lose heart because he himself endured the race, God,
the Father had planned for him.
Florence might have lost that battle, but she returned to Catalina Island two months later to
accomplish her goal. The fog was just as thick that day, but this time Florence swam with
her faith intact. She knew her destination was there even if she couldn’t see it. She
completed the swim not only becoming the first woman to accomplish it but shattering the
men’s record by more than 2 hours.

Those who have a steadfast mind is not spared from trials, but they will never walk through
them alone. In the middle of the storm (fog), you are confident of victory. “When you pass
through waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep
over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you
ablaze” (Isaiah 43:2).
We have the confidence that no matter how chaotic the circumstances
of our lives, God will take us through the storm (fog). We stand fast in the confidence that
God is enough, He is powerful enough, and that He cares enough.

Let us strive to stand fast trusting in the Lord, with a steadfast mind because our God is the
Rock Eternal, and He is in control of our situation. “And we know that in all things God works
for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
(Romans 8:28)
. Stay focused!

– By Joyce Abraham


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