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.