On the Bright Side
October 13, 2018
Here's another of those little gems, a story called "Shipwreck" with a great message:
A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God.
However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island. The first thing they prayed for was food.
The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of land remained barren.
After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing.
Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.
Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island.
The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God's blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, "Why are you leaving your companion on the island?"
"My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them," the first man answered. "His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything."
"You are mistaken!" the voice rebuked him. "He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings."
"Tell me," the first man asked the voice, "what did he pray for that I should owe him anything?"
"He prayed that all your prayers be answered."
Isn't that just a kick in the pants? I think it's a great reminder of several things: that for all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our own prayers alone, but those of another or others praying for us. We should not be so quick to judge anyone else for anything because we hardly ever know the whole story unless we ask. It is good to remember others in our prayers no matter who we send our prayers off to.
So many times we feel alone when we are not. So many times we assume everything is "up to me, all by myself" when others are standing by to help. So many times we assume the other person is wrong and we are right because of our own selfishness.
Isn't there an old saying that says, "many hands make light work?" I guess there are all sorts of reminders about working together, taking care of each other and looking out for one another ("he ain't heavy, he's my brother"), if only we would pay attention to those reminders more often.
© Copyright 2018. Mel White, local writer/photographer, has been looking on the bright side for various publications since 1996. She welcomes your comments at [email protected]