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picture of stranded man

Have you ever been stranded? You read or hear stories about people who are stranded in all sorts of situations — along a highway, in the woods, on a mountain, in a boat, in the snow, on an island, and many other scenarios. Just recently on the news there was a story of young boy who spent a night in the woods after getting lost while skiing. Once found, he was facing losing several toes from frostbite. Being stranded has been romanticized in literature and on film, but the difficulties, fear, loneliness, and necessities of life would quickly crowd out any dreamy notions.

One time in France we shared a train compartment with an American man and his child. While in Italy the father had been pickpocketed and lost all his money, their tickets, and any form of identification. He didn't speak the language and had to try to rebuild his identity and to come up with enough money to obtain food and lodging and to get themselves back to the USA. He said that beyond the frustrations of his situation was the terror of being stranded and feeling utterly helpless. We shared his horror as he recounted their experience, and I was able to share with him what would have been our Confidence in such a situation.

Today I'm posting three fictitious stories about people stranded on islands and what happened to them.

Two men crashed in their private plane on a South Pacific Island. Both survived. One of the men brushed himself off and then proceeded to run all over the island to see if they had any chance of survival. When he returned, he rushed up to the other man and screamed, "This island is uninhabited, there is no food, there is no water. We're going to die!"

The other man leaned back against the fuselage of the wrecked plane, folded his arms and responded, " No we're not. I make over $100,000 a week.

The first man grabbed his friend and shook him. "Listen, we are on an uninhabited island. There is no food, no water. We are going to die!"

The other man, unruffled, again responded, "No, we're not. I make over $100,000 a week."

Mystified and taken aback with such an answer again, the first man repeated, "For the last time, I'm telling you we are doomed. There is no one else on this island. There is no food. There is no water. We are, I repeat, we are going to die."

Still unfazed, the first man looked his friend in the eyes and said, "Don't make me say this again. I make over $100,000 per week, and I tithe 10%. My pastor WILL find us!!!"


A man was shipwrecked on an island. For several days he scanned the horizon for the rescue ships that he was sure would be coming soon.

Being a survivor by nature the man began working feverishly to make his new home as comfortable as possible. He immediately built a sturdy house to keep the elements out and began teaching himself how to hunt and forage for food.

After several years a passing ship saw of signs of life on what they had understood to be a deserted island. They sent a small craft to shore with a rescue team to assess the situation.

Upon arrival the crew was greeted enthusiastically by the shipwrecked man. As they filled him in on all that he had missed in world affairs, their attention was drawn to the three buildings along the shoreline.

Upon examining the structures and ascertaining that the first was a home, one of the rescue crew members said, "That first building is obviously your home, but what are the second and third buildings?"

The man replied, "Oh that one is my church"

"And the third hut?" asked another curious rescuer.

"That's the church I used to go to."


The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed fervently for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements and to store his few possessions.

But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.

The worst had happened — everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger.

"Dear Lord, how could you do this to me!" he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him!

"How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.

"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.


It is easy to get discouraged when things seem to be going badly. But we shouldn't lose heart since God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. He sees the big picture and He does not desert His children.

Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground, it just may be the smoke signal that is summoning the grace and help that you need.


Second semester at school begins this Wednesday. Please pray for many who will be traveling today and tomorrow to get back. That pesky global warming has caused all sorts of travel hazards.

Our daughter Megan has several blog posts about our visit up there, complete with some great pictures. You can check them out at The Happy Little Hawkins Family.

I look forward to reading your thoughts about this post.


"You speak in your letter of the possibility of one place being safer than another; I think, dear Eva, from the human standpoint all are equally unsafe, from the point of view of those whose lives are hid with Christ in God all are equally safe! ...'A mighty fortress is our God,' and in Him we are safe for time and eternity. Shall we murmur if we have less of time than we expected?" - Edith Searell, in one of her last letters before being martyred in the Boxer rebellion

=^..^= =^..^=

Some people think it's holding on that makes one strong ... sometimes it's letting go.

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5 Comments on “Stranded!”

  1. #1 Brian
    on Jan 11th, 2010 at 11:53 am

    In the summer of 2007 I went on a mission team from my church to Zambia in Africa. The airline changed the date of our return flight without telling anyone so we arrived at the airport a day late. They weren’t all that helpful in finding more flights. We ended up in Zambia an extra week but had some of our best times of ministry then, being able to accomplish a lot of extra little things and talking to more people. African airlines sometimes do that so tourists will pay extra to get back with no reimbursement for the missed flight, but the Lord provided almost the entire amount extra we had to pay. He certainly knows how to care for his own.

  2. #2 Matt
    on Jan 11th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    You write: “Remember, next time your little hut is burning to the ground, it just may be the smoke signal that is summoning the grace and help that you need.”

    And yet, all I can think of is: http://www.despair.com/mis24x30prin.html

  3. #3 Carrie
    on Jan 11th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    I don’t remember being stranded anywhere–I know, a boring life! My kids and I are flying in a few weeks, and I sincerely hope that we don’t get stranded! Eek!

  4. #4 Sue
    on Jan 12th, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    I guess the closest I’ve ever been to being stranded would be the Halloween when I was 15. Eight other kids and I, ages 5-14, were out hiking an unfamiliar mountain, and were told by our guide to follow the trail back down the way we came. Somehow it didn’t work out that simply. We lost the trail and weren’t able to get back to it. After having a brief prayer meeting, we decided to work/fight our way down, trail or no trail (we figured as long as we were getting off the mountain we’d find road eventually). It must have been a good plan, we found a house with a phone after an hour and half of losing the trail, and were told that the last kid to get lost on that mountain required a two-day search party!

  5. #5 Rob
    on Jan 15th, 2010 at 6:49 am

    @Brian – What an interesting way and place to get stranded! It was obvious that the Lord had plans other than yours. Glad you responded well and trusted Him.

    @Matt – Don’t you just love some of those demotivational posters from despair.com ?!

    @Carrie – There are some interesting life events that I hope I miss out on completely. I hope you won’t get your first experience with being stranded any time soon.

    @Sue – Have they banned Treat or Treating on that mountain yet?!