by Charles R. Swindoll
In his fine little book Fully Human, Fully Alive, author John Powell relates an experience of a friend who was vacationing in the Bahamas. The friend was sightseeing when he noticed a crowd gathered toward the end of a pier. He walked down to investigate the commotion. Powell says:
. . . he discovered that the object of all the attention was a young man making the last-minute preparations for a solo journey around the world in a homemade boat. Without exception everyone on the pier was pessimistic. All were actively volunteering to tell the ambitious sailor all the things that could possibly go wrong. . . .
When my friend heard all these discouraging warnings to the adventurous young man, he felt an irresistible desire to offer some optimism and encouragement. As the little craft began drifting away from the pier towards the horizon, my friend . . . kept shouting: "BON VOYAGE! You're really something! We're with you. We're proud of you!"
How few are those who see beyond the danger . . . who say to those on the edge of some venture, "Go for it!" Funny, isn't it? I suppose it's related to one's inner ability to imagine, to envision, to be enraptured by the unseen, all the hazards and hardships notwithstanding.
How glad I am that certain visionaries refused to listen to the crowd on the pier. I'm glad . . .
• that Edison didn't give up on the light bulb
• that Luther refused to back down
• that Michelangelo kept painting
• that Lindbergh kept flying
• that Papa Ten Boom said "yes" to frightened Jews
Almost every day—certainly every week—we encounter people who are in their own homemade boat, thinking seriously about setting forth. The ocean of possibilities is enormously inviting, yet terribly threatening. Urge them on! Dare to say what they need to hear the most, "Go for it!" Then pray like mad. How much could be accomplished if only there were brave souls on the end of the pier smiling and affirming.
Most of the time it's not a matter of having the goods, but of hearing the bads.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.