Sometime into the teaching of this section, I was reminded of a story I heard about Florence Chadwick. This story has great application in the lives of youth in keeping true to their covenants in the midst of trials and living in a time with so much uncertainty.
On July 4, 1952, Florence Chadwick attempted to become the first woman to swim across the Catalina Channel – a 21 mile swim. This swim took place under very difficult circumstances – the Pacific Ocean is very cold, and it was foggy that day, so much that at times Florence could not see the support boats that were accompanying her. Sharks followed so closely at times that support crews had to use rifles to drive them off .
Chadwick’s attempt was watched by viewers on television. Though she had both her mother and her trainer in one of the support boats encouraging her on, after 15 hours and 55 minutes, with less than a mile to go, Chadwick asked to be taken out of the water. As she sat in the boat, she found out just how near she had come. Later, she was quoted as saying, “Look, I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen land I know I could have made it.”
Because the fog was so thick, Chadwick could not see the shoreline and this fact caused her to lose hope. Two months later, she made a second attempt and completed the distance in under 14 hours. This time, she accomplished it by keeping a mental image of the shoreline in her mind while she swam.
So many of the folks from D&C 124 who lost faith or did not endure to the end of their lives made it so far, only to stop near the end. How much is this like a young seminary student who says to herself, “what’s the use? I may as well go steady with this boy… nobody is calling on me, there is no hope”
All the while, off in the distance through the fog is the very thing she desires… only he is wearing a missionary name tag and preaching the gospel in Guatemala! I can see the Lord saying, “hold on, you’ll make it… the shore is so close!”