The only survivor of a shipwreck 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 toprotect 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 stung 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 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 next time your little hut is burning to the ground- - it just may be a smoke signal that summons the grace of God.

For all the negative things we have to say to ourselves, God has a positive answer for each of them:

We say, "It's impossible." God says: "All things are possible." (Luke 18:27)
We say, "I'm too tired." God says: "I will give you rest." (Matt. 11:28-20)
We say,  "Nobody really loves me." God says: "I love you." (John 3:16)
We say, "I can't go on." God says: "My grace is sufficient." (II Cor. 12:9)
We say, "I can't figure things out." God says: "I will direct your steps." (Proverbs 3:5-6)
We say, "I can't do it." God says: "You can do all things." (Phil. 4:13)
We say, "It's not worth it." God says: "It will be worth it." (Romans 8:28)
We say, "I can't forgive myself." God says: "I forgive you." (I John 1:9)
We say, "I can't manage." God says: "I will supply all your needs." (Phil. 4:19)
We say,"I'm afraid." God says: "I have not given you the spirit of fear." (II Tim. 1:7)
We say, "I'm always worried and frustrated." God says: "Cast all your cares on Me." (I Peter 5:7)
We say, "I don't have enough faith." God says: "I've given everyone the measure of faith." (Romans 12:3)
We say, "I'm not smart enough." God says: "I give you wisdom." (I Cor. 1:30)
We say, "I feel all alone." God says: "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Heb. 13:5)


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When you feel like nothing is there but pain and hurt and great despair, that is when we know we need to not give up, whatever it is we're going through.