Monday, November 17, 2008

Is Your Hut Burning?

Posted by Terry McNichols

When I picked this particular story to post, I had no idea that it would be ready for publication shortly after the massive fires that burned in Southern California. My dorm (and Leona's) at Westmont College, our alma mater, burned to the ground. The college lost several buildings, including 14 homes for faculty that were completely destroyed. The students had to take refuge in the gymnasium. Many private homes in the Montecito area were destroyed. Westmont has been here before, with a residence hall burned in a 1964 fire. Once again, the fire raged out of control. Here's the story I had ready to post:

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 him 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.

It is very difficult, in the midst of suffering, to understand how God is at work. What smoke signal did this fire send? I will be interested in seeing in the weeks ahead how God uses the Westmont community in this time of trouble.

(Photo by Creativity+TimothyK, shared via Flickr)

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