A Blast from The Past to Help Us Live in The Present!
Do you remember Gilligan’s Island, a popular TV comedy series from many moons ago? What I remember most from this comedy is the catchy tune that introduced the show. As soon as the show opened everyone listening began singing it. If you’re lucky, you can still catch a segment or two of this show on YouTube or any channel that shows re-runs.
Gilligan, the show’s star, was marooned with a group of tourists on an unchartered island after a supposedly “three-hour tour.” Well, as it turned out, these very different people faced their daily difficulties together.
Surprisingly they learned how to get along, struggle with their differences, meet their daily challenges together, and with hindsight vision learned to laugh together. They gradually became good friends and survived this ordeal. Freed from their island “prison,” they returned home safely all the better for their ordeal.
Americans are celebrating their Independence Day on July 4th. It is a HUGE holiday with parades, fireworks and picnics. Yet behind this holiday reside the memories of colonists who found themselves immersed in difficulties leveled on them by British rule.
As on Gilligan’s Island, but in a more realistic situation, they too struggled together, kept their sense of humor, united by common trials and soon found their freedom. The United States of America was born.
In life, we often feel alone, as if on an island, surrounded by the choppy waters of difficulties. We hear tragic news about family and friends whose lives are shortened by disease or death. We hear breaking news, telling of terrorist tragedies and hurts inflicted on one nation by another. We become fearful considering our futures and we sigh, What is happening to us? or Where is God when we need him? Words I’m sure the inhabitant of Gilligan’s Island and our American colonists uttered at one time or another.
I’m certain they also threw up their hands in despair, crying out "What's the use?” or sought solace in some quiet corner to calm down or regain courage. And like Gilligan and his friends, they gained renewed strength from friends around them. And in this way both moved more easily from one crisis or another.
As Christians, we live surrounded by a community of believers called Church. From this community, we have our faith and their prayers, and most of all Jesus: his memory, his words, and his promises.
Through these constant companions and the presence of Jesus, we survive difficulties and live through peace-filled and heartbreaking times until we too go home. The colonists fighting the British did, the inhabitants trapped on that island did, and so will we. God is faithful and always keeps his promises.
As Americans celebrate their independence and deliverance from their difficulties, we remember this same God who heard them hears us. God never changes.
The next time we feel overwhelmed, hear the words of St. Francis de Sales: It is better to distrust our own strength to endure, than to be too confident, if we can readily count on God's grace to fill our empty spaces.