Smoke Signals of Grace

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and 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.
“God, 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.
Friends, someone once shared the above story with me and then concluded with this advice: “Remember, the next time your little hut is burning to the ground, it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.”
Now, it would be foolish to pretend that it is fun to watch our little huts burn to the ground. It is easy to get discouraged when things like illness, divorce, unemployment, or the death of a loved one enter our lives. Yet, if we are believers in Jesus Christ,
we shouldn't lose heart. We can be confident that God is still at work, even in the midst of our trials, traumas, troubles, and tragedies.
One of the most powerful verses in the entire Bible is Romans 8:28. Here, the Lord tells us through the Apostle Paul, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Friends, that phrase “all things” covers exactly that—each and every situation we encounter in life. Tears may fill your eyes as you realize a mistake you made caused your team to lose the big game, yet if you are a Christian, God will use that experience for your good. The doctor may tell you
that the biopsy shows an aggressive form of cancer in your body. However, if you are trusting in Jesus, God will still somehow use that terrible news for your good. You may have a son who three years ago swore at you, screamed, “I never want to see you again,” and then slammed the door as he walked out of the house. You have not spoken to him since, yet if you are a believer in Jesus, God will somehow use that very painful situation for your good. In November, the candidate whom you supported may lose the election. A feeling of disappointment and even dread may start to seep into your soul. However, as a Christian you will have no reason to despair. The Lord will somehow bring good to your life in the days ahead.
Friend, even in a time when there seems to be so much confusion and chaos in our world, we can be confident of this: God has a purpose and a plan that He will accomplish. That plan always includes His glory and the good of His people. So even if your hut burns down, keep trusting and hoping in the Lord.
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Dan Erickson

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