The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small, uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions.
But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky.
The worst had happened -- everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. "God, how could you do this to me?" he cried.
Early the next day, however, he was woken by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.
"How did you know I was here?" asked the weary man of his rescuers.
"We saw your smoke signal," they replied.
It's easy to get discouraged sometimes when things appear to be going badly. We all face some days when we feel that our huts are burning. For all the negative things we have to say to ourselves, Life has a positive answer for it. The next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground, remember it just may be a smoke signal that summons Grace.
This illustrates the famous Indian proverb, "Everything is for the better" ("ellaam nanmaikke" in Tamil; would love to hear other language versions from you). The trouble is, when something happens, we cannot see the hidden blessing or the fact that things could have been worse. It is only later, with the benefit of hindsight that we are able to view the same event in a new perspective. One learning could therefore be to always believe in a better future and quickly move out of a moan-groan mode.
Anyone who has struggled through a crisis phase in a project or personal life would relate to this. Afterwards when we look back we feel it was an interesting challenge and that it taught us a lot.