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In the days of sailing boats, ocean voyages were at great risk from the high seas. There were many shipwrecks due to the strong ocean currents and storms. One such shipwreck in the Pacific Ocean left a lone survivor, who by God’s Grace, found himself washed up on a small, uninhabited island.

At first the man thanked his good fortune for being alive. The island was warm and there were no wild animals to bother him. He began to search the island for food and managed to get by on fruits and coconuts. Over time he built himself a small hut out of bamboo and coconut branches, gradually adding to its size and fashioning chairs, a table and various features to make it comfortable.

The man had strong faith and every day he prayed to God for his rescue. He spent hours scanning the horizon in hope for a passing vessel to rescue him - but none came by and he grew rather depressed and lonely. He wondered, “When is God going to answer my desperate prayers?”

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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 and he was overcome with grief and anger.

"God, how could you do this to me!" he cried. What little he possessed had been cruelly taken away from him – literally everything he owned and cherished. Where was the justice in this – where was God’s compassion for his plight!

Early the next day, as he miserably got up from his place at the bottom of a coconut tree near the beach, he was stunned to see a sailing ship approaching the island. He jumped up and frantically started to wave his arms, shouting “Help, help, I am here!” at the top of his voice.

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He saw the boat weigh anchor and soon a rowing dinghy came ashore. It had come to rescue him. The joy he felt was indescribable. He embraced his rescuers in sobs of relief and happiness – his ordeal was over. The crew took him on board to meet the captain and he offered his gratitude for rescuing him.

"How did you know I was here?" he asked. The captain replied, "We saw your smoke signal."

The man suddenly realized how God had caused his hut to burn down just at the moment when a passing ship would see it and be alerted to his presence. He was stunned into silence at the wonderful ways of the all knowing Lord. All his doubts at God’s mercy vanished.

Similarly there are instances in our lives when we get too depressed with an unexpected calamity or misfortune. Only later, we realize that they were, in fact, blessings in disguise. Bhagavan Baba tells us:

“Your troubles are often self-created. If you develop firm faith in God and surrender to His Will, He will not fail you. This is the concept of Sharanagathi or surrender. The bliss that can be derived from this surrender to God cannot be derived from any other means. Regard whatever happens to you as something intended for your own good.”

So remember, next time your “little hut” is burning to the ground, it just may be a “smoke signal” that is summoning the Grace of God.

Illustrations: Mr. Rahul Raja, SSSU

- Heart2Heart Team

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Vol 6 Issue 03 - MARCH 2008
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