I have had this story on my mind as I think about a friend who has been feeling a little blue. I thought I would share it with you because it is meaningful to me, so you might like it, too.

(By the way, I looked for it online, and there are so many different versions, I thought I would just tell it in my own words.)

After days and days of rain, a flood was coming, and the citizens of the town were ordered to evacuate. One deeply religious man refused to leave. The police knocked on his door and said, “Com’on, we’re here to take you someplace safe.” He said to them, “I’m not leaving. God will save me.” They couldn’t force him out of his home, so they left.

The rain kept coming. The flood waters rose and trapped him on his front porch. Some of his neighbors came by in a row boat and said, “Com’on along. We’ve come to take you someplace safe.” His reply was, “I appreciate y’all, but I’m gonna stay put.  God’s gonna save me.” They shook their heads and rowed away.

The waters rose higher until he had to climb onto his roof. A  young man roared up in a motor boat and said, “Com’on, Pops. Folks sent me to take you to high ground where you can be safe.” The man shook his head. “Thanks so much, but I’ll be fine. God’s gonna save me.” There wasn’t anything the young man could do but leave.

Finally, all that was left above the water was the man’s chimney. Seeing him standing on top because there wasn’t room to sit, rescuers in a helicopter dropped down a rope and shouted through a megaphone, “Tie the rope around you, and we’ll pull you up! If you don’t leave now, you’ll drown!” The man waved them off and shouted, “Don’t worry about me! God is coming to save me!” The helicopter had to leave.

The man drowned. When he got to Heaven, he asked God,  “What happened? I told everyone that you were going to save me because I had faith, and then you let me down. What kind of witness is that?”

God replied, “My son, I heard your prayers. I sent you a police car, two boats, and a helicopter. What else did you expect?”

The moral of this story: When you’re praying for an answer, look around. He may have sent it when you were looking the other way.

2 responses to “Parable of the Boats”

  1. Savoring Sixty and Beyond Avatar

    I have always enjoyed this story and it is good to read it again! Sometimes life gets so stressful it becomes difficult to recognize the help being offered. I am guilty of shooing away others as well as missing the boat a time or two. Hopefully I will be smarter next time and will try to listen for that voice calling to me and hopefully it won’t take a megaphone for me to hear it!


    1. bethwarstadt Avatar

      Oh boy, do I hear that! I think the reason I like this story so much is because it reminds be of my own tendency to do the very same thing.


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