Bolivia has a Navy???

Who knew? One assumes that countries with coastlines have a Navy and landlocked countries do not. Bolivia, being in the later group, usually would not have a Navy. For those who are geographically challenged, here is a map. That purple area in about the middle of South America is Bolivia. Click on the map for a bigger image.

Since Bolivia does not have coastal access, one would naturally assume there is no need for a Navy. In this case it's not that simple. Bolivia used to have access to the sea. In 1879 Chile "acquired" the land that used to be Bolivia's, removing their coastal access.

Bolivia has not given up hope. They maintain their Navy, even though they have no seaport or ocean going ships, as a way to remember. They continue to hope that some day they will have access to the sea, and once again they will need a Navy.

Read more about the Bolivian Navy here

When my wife stumbled across this story, we shared a couple of good chuckles regarding the Bolivian Navy. Ok, we laughed so hard our eyes watered. It's an easy target. The mental pictures the Bolivian Navy paddling around the lakes and rivers pretending to be out on the ocean, waiting for the day they can grow up and be real sailors are too funny.

After the laughter faded, I was thinking about the Bolivian Navy. Their refusal to give up can be looked at two ways. The first is with laughter or even scorn that they wasting their time. Engaged in a futile endeavor. No hope. The second way is that they are persistent. They have a dream, a desire, and they will not let go. There's a fine line between chasing dreams and being crazy. Which is the Bolivian Navy doing? I don't know..... I guess if they some day get their coastal access back, we will praise their persistence. Until then, we'll probably share a few chuckles at their expense.

How does one know when they are chasing a dream? Or when they've actually gone off the deep end and have no chance? Does it matter? Most would scoff if I announced that I was going to chase a dream to be an NBA player. Not much chance of that for an old, white guy who can't jump. How should good friends react to something like that? Let me proceed in my folly? Or help me understand that I don't have a chance? In this ridiculous example the answer may be easier to determine than some other situations. But the question is worth considering. How do we know when we should intervene or not? It's not always easy.

As Christians, how do we know when we should let our friends know that chasing money, fame and fortune in the life is not the best use of their time and effort? Will they believe us? Will they understand? How do we let them know there are better more productive things they can be doing for God? That's not so easy....

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