Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of April 29, 2002
God douses your burning huts
By MSGR. JIM LISANTE
A lot of people are worried about the Internet, and understandably so. They worry specifically about the kind of trash that pops up, usually uninvited, on the home screens of American families. Much of it is downright pornographic, and it has a way of dirtying everything - and everyone - that it touches.
I wish that our lawmakers could come up with a way of ridding us all of this filth, but their efforts so far have fallen short. Anyone who doubts that need only look at a sampling of unbidden titles to understand the depth of the problem.
But the record isn't all bad, and that's what I wanted to tell you about today. Thank heavens there are countless people out there lighting candles in the midst of the darkness, in the best Christopher tradition, to remind us of what we're called to be.
I don't mean to minimize the pornography problem on the Internet, not for a minute. But these often-anonymous missionaries - for that's what they are - prove that the dazzling technology of the 21st century really can help each of us live better lives.
The other day a friend sent an e-mail to me that I, in turn, was invited to pass along to someone else. I'll go one better. I'll pass it along to all of you because the message is one we can all use - and because it reminds us of how the Internet can so easily become a force for good.
Its title was Is Your Hut Burning? and it told of a shipwreck survivor who was washed up on a small uninhabited island.
He prayed feverishly to God for help, but no rescuers appeared.
Eventually he managed to build a driftwood hut that protected him and kept his few provisions dry, but one day after scavenging for food he returned to find his hut afire.
What little he had was lost.
"God, how could you do this to me?" he called out in despair.
The next day he was stunned to see a ship approaching the island, coming to rescue him. "How did you know I was here?" he stammered. "We saw your smoke signal," they said.
The lesson of my correspondent's story was obvious: It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart.
God is always at work in our lives, even in the midst of pain and suffering.
Remember, the next time your own hut seems to be burning to the ground, it just may be a smoke signal - one that summons the grace of God.
There was more: some scriptural reminders that for every dark cloud in our lives, God has a silver lining.
You say, "It's impossible," but God says, "What is impossible for mortals is possible for God" (Luke 18:27).
You say, I'm too tired," but God says, "I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
You say, "Nobody really loves me," but God says, "I have loved you" (John 13:34).
You say, "I can't go on," but God says, "My grace is sufficient for you" (2 Corinthians 12:9).
You say, "I can't figure things out," but God says, "(I) will direct your steps" (Proverbs 3:6).
You say, "I can't do it, but God says, "You can do all things" (Philippians 4:13).
You say, "I can't forgive myself," but God says, "The Lord has forgiven you" (Colossians 3:13).
You say, "I'm not smart enough," but God says, "I . . . give you wisdom and understanding" (Daniel 9:22).
You say, "I feel all alone," but God says, "I will never leave you or forsake you" (Hebrews 13:5). So, courtesy of an old friend, that's my little e-mail sermon.
The next time your own hut seems to be going up in flames, keep it in mind.
(For a free copy of the Christopher News Note, Being a Good Neighbour, write: The Christophers, 12 East 48 St., New York, NY, 10017; or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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