Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Parable of the Modern Flood

Grab onto something, whatever it is...
I heard a story once. Or read it. I dunno which or where or from whom. But it made me think about how some people view the world, and how that can sometimes differ from reality. I think the story was meant as a joke, but it could be seen as a parable. 
I've always loved parables because they illustrate a point, and often a very deep point, in such a simple way. They are the kind of stories you can spend a lifetime thinking about, and can apply the "moral of the story" to so many situations.
This story, that I did not invent but will write down from memory with a little literary embellishment, I call the Parable of the Modern Flood. 
The weather reports for the coming 24 hours weren't good. Dave kept an eye on the TV and began to worry. He lived in a small town, hardly worth naming, but it had gained new fame by being the epicenter of what the weather media was already calling the "Flood of the Century". 

He'd grown up here. His whole family had grown up here. These were God-fearing Christians. A proud people. Proud of their faith and proud of their land.

But even Dave, strong in his faith, was afraid. He went to his knees and begged the Lord to save his family. He would dedicate his life to the Lord if He would only deliver them from this terrible flood that the weather people were predicting.

A calm serenity passed over Dave. He knew the Lord would save them, and he felt his faith strengthened by it. He went to sleep, as the rest of the family already had hours before, comforted in the knowledge that all would be well.

The next day, Dave awoke to the sounds of bustling activity within his home and the smell of bacon frying. It was a good day. A day the Lord had made. Not even the soft pelting of infrequent raindrops on his windows foreshadowing the storm to come could dampen his mood. He knew they were safe.

After his morning routine, he made his way to the kitchen to kiss his wife and perhaps steal a little bacon. Christine smiled uneasily and told him that they should really hurry after breakfast and get the family out of town before the rains hit later in the day.

Dave laughed. "We are safe my love. The Lord will protect us!".

After breakfast, Christine again mentioned the wisdom of leaving town. "Hon, all of the neighbors are leaving, and the Governor has issued a State of Emergency. He has even got the National Guard coming in." She said worriedly. "You know Ricky, the Haverson's boy down the road? Nelly called and told me he had to report in to his unit. It's going to be bad, we need to-"

"I'll not hear of it Christine." said Dave. "I prayed last night and the Lord sent his blessing on us. He will protect us. I have no doubt. We are safe here."

 It was about half past noon when the knocking came. Dave opened the door revealing several rough looking men wearing Army uniforms.

"What in the actual $%^&* are you people still doing in here?" screamed the 1st Sgt at Dave. "There's a @%^*#@ flood of biblical proportions coming! We need to get you folks out of here, now!"

Dave, shocked at the language and the appearance of this "soldier" gave him a hard look. "Who are you?" asked Dave.

"I'm 1st Sgt Peterson, Texas National Guard. This area is under a severe flood warning, and you and your family had better come with us. Now!"

"I'm sorry sir, but we are safe right where we are. The Lord shall protect us.", replied Dave.

The 1st Sgt spat and cursed and gave Dave a hard look. "Buddy, I don't have time for this %#&*. Either you and your folks get in that truck behind me, or you get left behind. And you'd better choose smart, 'cause the heavy rains are just behind us, and there won't be any more trucks after this."

Dave just smiled and said "My wife, my children, and I are perfectly safe. You guys just head on out and be careful. May the Lord go with you."

"Yeah OK you nut." spat the Peterson. "Good luck with that. Let's go men, the flood is going to hit soon, and we don't want to get caught in it!"

The National Guardsmen moved swiftly through the rest of the town and were gone. Dave felt his family were now safe from such men, and from the flood.

The rain came hard, drilling against the roof and the windows. It sounded like the ocean itself, though hundreds of miles away, were pouring out it's vengeance upon the world.

Dave looked out of his window, struggling to see what was happening. Water had begun to seep through the front door, and he was worried about the damage to his home. Not to his family, his faith told him they were all safe. But all of this water. Well, it was a small price to pay for their lives. Nothing for it in the end.

As the water level in Dave's home began to rise, the carpet long since lost, Dave heard a noise outside. It sounded like a fishing boat motor.

Dave struggled to open the front door against the water already rising in his home. He gave a start as soon as he'd had it partway open. It was certainly a boat, with the same sort of rough looking men on it, cussing at him and telling him to get his family on the boat before it was too late.
"These men", Dave thought, "look too rough. Surely this is not how the Lord intends to save us. I'd best send them on their way"
The men, calling Dave all kinds of names, left in the boat. Dave felt he and his family were safe once more. He prayed, waiting for the Lord to deliver them.

As the hours dragged on, the rain fell harder and the nearby river had long since been overrun. The water had risen to the second floor and Dave, his wife, and his children had no other option but to climb up onto the roof.
Dave was getting worried. The flood had all but taken his home, yet the rains continued and the water level rose unabated. In the distance they heard a familiar sound, as a dark object began to swoop in closer to them from the sky.
Perhaps it is an angel he thought. Perhaps it is the very hand of God come to take us away.
In but a moment, the solid form of a helicopter came into view. Two uniformed men slowly descended from the machine onto Dave's roof.
"Sir, we need you to come with us please. We need to put a harness on each of your children first and take them up to the bird. After that, we will come for you and your wife, are we clear?" yelled one of the men through the howling of the wind and the rain.

More rough men, thought Dave. These aren't angels. This is not the hand of God. 
"There is no need" said Dave. "The Lord will save us. We will stay here until such time as the Lord puts an end to this."
The other rescuer grabbed Dave's shoulder and shouted at him "Look you nut! We're risking our lives out here trying to save your skins! The least you can do is to get on board this @#@#$^ helicopter!"

"Please Dave! Please!" cried Christine. "The water is getting higher, and we've nowhere else to go! Please, let these men save us!"

"Go if you wish" said Dave. "I cannot stop you. But I'm staying here. The Lord will save me."

The men worked hard against the torrential downpour and got Christine and the children aboard the helicopter.

"Last chance buddy!" yelled one of the men.

"Go!" replied Dave. "My faith will save me!"

With that, the helicopter flew off to safety with Dave's family on board. He was alone.

The water level continued to rise. Dave was just barely able to keep his head above water, and the rain continued to pour.

At that moment, he cried out to the Lord.

"Lord? Why didn't you save me? Why didn't you rescue me?"

And Dave heard a voice that seemed to bellow from within his very soul:

My child, I sent an Army to save you, but you refused to go with them. I sent a Navy, yet you would not board their ship. I sent an Air Force, yet you refused the flight to safety. I tried three times to save you, yet you rejected My help...


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