HAVE YOU WONDERED? Look through the fog; set your heart and mind on journey toward heaven

Russ Whitten
Russ Whitten

In 1952, a young woman named Florence Chadwick stepped into the waters of the Pacific Ocean, determined to swim from Catalina Island to the California coastline, a distance of about 26 miles. She’d already been the first woman to swim the English Channel in both directions. She was flanked by small boats the whole way that watched for sharks and were prepared to help her if she grew tired.

The weather that day unfortunately was very cold and rainy. After about 15 hours of swimming, a thick fog set in, so bad that she could hardly see the boats that were with her. Finally, physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted, she stopped swimming and was pulled up on to one of the boats. It wasn’t until she was on the boat that she discovered the shore was less than half a mile away. 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.”

This story can aptly serve as an analogy for the Christian faith.

The Christian life is really a journey toward heaven and, thus, it is good to consistently set our hearts and minds on things above. In Colossians 3:1-2: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

When our daughter was only 2, Charlene and I decided that we would take a trip to Disney World. During the weeks that preceded the trip, we tried our best to explain and describe to Savannah what a fantastic, wonderful and magical place we were going to. Finally, the day came. We drove to Orlando, followed the signs and eventually entered the massive Disney parking lot. The parking area at Disney World is so huge that they designate a certain region with the name of a Disney character so that you can remember where you parked at the end of the day. We parked in the Donald Duck area.

Savannah was giddy with joy and excitement, that is, until we started walking away from the car toward the entrance. Without any warning, she started wailing and crying like we’d never heard her cry before. Charlene and I gave each other that “what in the world is going on!” look. We finally figured out that Savannah must have thought that the big pole in the parking lot with Donald Duck’s face on it was Disney World and that we were leaving it. I recall this ugly pole even had a metal trash can chained to it. I kept saying things like, “But, sweetie, Disney World’s over there!”

Finally, she trusted us enough to leave the pole and the trash and we entered a place that she was not prepared for and could not even imagine. Sometimes we are like that. We get so attached to this fallen world and the things in it that it breaks our heart when we think about leaving. We sometimes get so attached to our trash that we fail to set our minds and hearts on things above. God must smile when he sees us so attached to this fallen place knowing what he has in store for us.


Dear Father in heaven, thank you that through Jesus Christ we can find forgiveness, new life, hope and a way to heaven. Help us to see through all the fog of our world and focus on the shore. Help us to set our minds on things about. In Jesus’ Holy name, Amen.

Russ Whitten is a local minister, writer and musician.