I once read where the only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed fervently for God to rescue him, and every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. He eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements and in which to store his few possessions.
Then one day, after scavenging for food, he returned only to find his little hut going up 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.
He started to lay down in the sand, but he was awakened by the sound of a ship’s horn as it approached the island. When it reached the shore, the weary man asked his rescuers: “How did you know I was here?” “We saw your smoke signal,” they replied.
It is easy to get discouraged when things are going bad. But we shouldn’t lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering. Remember, the next time your little hut is burning to the ground — it just may be the smoke signal that summons the grace of God.