One of the most notorious federal prisons in the world is located in San Francisco Bay. During its 29 years of service, ALCATRAZ, also known as “The Rock,” was home to several of the nation’s most infamous criminals including Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, James “Whitey” Bulger, Mickey Cohen and the Birdman of Alcatraz. Alcatraz could handle over 300 inmates at one time and was home to over 1500 prisoners in its nearly three decades of use. Cells were so small inmates could stretch out their arms and touch each wall. It took 90 people to staff the prison, in three 8-hour shifts, many of whom resided on the island.
No one was ever executed on Alcatraz because the prison had no facilities for capital punishment. Those awaiting execution were transferred to San Quentin, another famous California prison. Alcatraz was closed on March 21, 1963. Today, it’s a tourist attraction with more than one million visitors each year.
Federal officials claim no one ever escaped from Alcatraz Island due to the distance from land, strong water currents and sharks. Years ago, Clint Eastwood starred in a movie about an alleged attempt, but the three men who supposedly escaped were believed to have drowned because no one was ever found.
The accomplishment of a dream is not a matter of age, background, body type, or bank account.
So it was big news, several years ago, when word came that someone had actually swum 1.4 miles all the way from Alcatraz Island to the city shore, in the chilly waters of San Francisco Bay. The fact it was done by a 7-year-old boy was even more astounding. Second grader, Braxton Bilbrey, from Glendale, Arizona, accomplished the feat in 47 minutes. Ironically, he was inspired by the story of a 9-year-old who did the same thing six months earlier, in less than two hours.
Imagine! What was previously believed impossible was accomplished by two kids: 9 and 7 years of age!
Now, swimming from Alcatraz Island to the city shore might not be on your “bucket list,” but something is. The thing you need to remember is that the accomplishment of a dream is not a matter of age (Braxton Bilbrey proves that), background, body type, or bank account. It’s a matter of heart and willingness to believe what others don’t and the discipline to do what others won’t.
As Christians, like the 9-year-old boy who inspired Braxton Bilbrey, we ought to be inspiring others around us to attempt and accomplish the impossible. It ought to be our specialty. Because WE BELIEVE in JESUS CHRIST.
Jesus told His disciples, “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37) and reinforced it when He said, “What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27).
Want to escape the ordinary and see your dreams come true and inspire others in the process?
Know how to swim?
© 2019. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.