A co-worker sent me a popular story this afternoon, one I've heard several times before but never ceases to be move me.
It's a story of a man sailing the ocean, when tragedy strikes and he finds himself shipwrecked on a deserted island. Weak with exhaustion and hunger, for days he works and builds himself a small hut to provide shelter from the elements for himself and his few salvaged possessions. One afternoon he returns from searching for food on the island to discover that his feeble little hut has caught fire and is entirely burnt down. Exhausted, hungry and finally broken he screams at God "How could You do this to me!?!"
The very next day, a ship sails near the island, drops anchor and two men row onto the shore. The stranded man sinks to his knees in gratitude and asks 'How on earth did you find me?"
Their response, "Our planes saw your smoke signal late yesterday afternoon, we got here as soon as we could."
We don't thank God for disaster. But if it weren't for disasters, those awful moments that turn us from whatever we had planned to suddenly going in a brand new direction - we'd find that we'd missed the best roads God had for us.
I don't know what it is about the idea, but I've seen enough that I don't see disasters in quite the same ways anymore. Lives change, but God has His hand in all of it - no matter how painful or difficult. U-turns are often dangerous. But God can handle it, He'll turn you down whatever special path He has for you and you will find - once you've made the turn - that this scenic route has changed your life profoundly for the best.
He's rescued me more than once with something I thought was horrible at the time.
I know it doesn't feel good, look good, or even seem inspirational - but truly, the next time something awful happens you might just ask yourself who God might be rescuing.