One of the Academy Award nominations was a movie called "Castaway"...about a man stranded by himself out on an unhabited island. It doesn't take us much imagination to feel the empty hopelessness in such a situation....the endless hours of boredom and looking out to sea for any sign of a passing ship, the despair as one's mind communicates with itself...
But a lot of people experience these feelings...even in the midst of crowds on city sidewalks. Being castaway...someone without a friend, given up as a hopeless case, having run with failure most of their life. Someone people avoid, judging them as not worth the effort...having a history of continual mistakes.. How easily they are discarded and dumped as castaways....not worth our time....worthless, rejected.
We find castaways in the gutters, in the garbage dumps of humanity....people who may have real or imagined faults and flaws that make them different and unacceptable. People who remind us of things we do not wish to think about, people with terminal diseases ...people who are old...incorrigible, rebellious.
But we can also find them among us, sitting in comfortable houses with every modern convenience, who suffer the pain of loneliness and rejection, to whom this life has little joy. They may be in the throes of deep depression, living on self-created , lonely islands.
It does not make us happy to read these things...because all of us want to mentally cast unpleasant thoughts away...that is what "castaway" means. We avoid it as much as we can...for we know our life upon this planet is brief, at best, and the pursuit of untimate dreams and pleasures occupies our moments.....so few bother with those struggling souls stuck on their islands alone....
Once I was asked to go and visit a young girl in the hospital. She could not speak English, as she was from Guatemala, but I had an interpreter. As I went into the room, I was unprepared for what I was about to see...her entire head was as big as a watermelon...I could hardly find her eyes, as her face was so swollen and black. Just a teenage child...Awful to look at! She had leaped from the 6th floor of that hospital and fallen on the sidewalk below in an attempt to end her life. Oh, how I grieved in my heart for her!
As I shared with her about the love of Christ, she soon told me how she felt so alone, so rejected...convinced no one loved her. But as I continued, I shared the story of how Jesus , years earlier, had filled my heart and given me purpose to live. I asked her about her parents...if her mother had been to see her. I was astonished to find out none of her family had come, even tho they lived in the same city. Perhaps it was true, no one loved her. How could this mother abandon her child...not even come to visit her after she had tried to kill herself?
"Could you forgive your mother for not loving you?" I asked her. She struggled with that question and said nothing. I told her of my life, how I was an orphan, finally adopted at age four, but had never received any love from my foster mother...how I had been told that my blood was not good enough, that I could never expect to be her daughter..cruel and very devastating to my heart. Yet years later, I found Christ and he put a supernatural love in my heart that helped me to love her even tho her rejection of me was to last almost her entire lifetime. But because I forgave her anyway and began to love and pray for her, God was able to finally lead my mother to accept forgiveness and salvation at age 90! From that time, her heart was changed and she was full of life and joy and even prayed for me! Jesus was able to do that for all of us. I asked her, "wouldn't it be wonderful if your mother had Jesus' love in her heart...she could be changed, just like you!"
Slowly, this girl, weeping, forgave her mother and received Jesus into her heart and life. Before I left, I asked her if I could go and visit her mother. She gave me her address, and I went to her home. But her mother was not there. So I left a long note explaining to her how I had visited her daughter and what had happened, that she had forgiven her and now had the love of Jesus in her heart....and that Jesus could do the same for her.
Late that night, I received a phone call. Her mother had come to the hospital...and they both had embraced with tears and wept their way into each other's hearts. The love of Jesus had invaded their lives and the castaway was now aboard a new ship..... heading for home.
Nothing is beyond His love...as Corrie TenBoom wrote in her book, "The Hiding Place": "There is no well so deep that He is not deeper still".
And there is no island to which He will not send His ship when there is a castaway in need of rescue....
MARY E. ADAMS