Monday, February 28, 2011

A Story About A Flood

I recall a joke my Daddy told me when I was growing up. A recent conversation about finding God's will brought it to mind.

There was a flood.

A man was on his front porch, when a police car came by.

“You’d better get in the car, Mister,” the policeman said. “The river is risin’ fast!”

“Oh, no!” the man said, “I’ll be fine. I’m trusting in the Lord!” So the policeman left.

An hour later, the same policeman came by in a boat, and saw the same man, now at a second story window, watching the water go by.

“Better get in the boat,” the policeman said. “The river is still risin’ fast!”

“Oh, no!” the man said, “I’ll be fine. I’m trusting in the Lord!” So the policeman left.

Another hour went by, and the same policeman came by again in his boat and saw the man, now sitting on his roof, watching the water rush by his house.

“Come on, man! Get in the boat!” the policeman said. “The river is still rising!”

“Oh, no!” the man said, “I’ll be fine. I’m trusting in the Lord!” So the policeman left.

Another hour goes by, and a helicopter flies over, and sees the man now perched atop his chimney.

The pilot yells at the man, “Hang on, we’ll lower a rope to you and pull you up!”

“Oh, no!” the man shouts back, “I’ll be fine. I’m trusting in the Lord!” So the helicopter left.

The man dies and goes to heaven, and says to God, “There was a flood & I trusted you to save me! Why’d you let me die?”

“Well,” God answered, “I sent you a car, two boats, and a helicopter. Wasn’t that enough?”

My Daddy taught me a lot through the jokes and stories he told me. He was smart that way. I miss him.

Study Assignment: Leave a comment in which you state what you think the point of this story is. Is it a valid point? Why or why not?

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threegirldad said...

Well done. What a great way to honor a father's memory.

Doug Hibbard said...

No fair. You already used that as a comment on another blog.



The Squirrel said...


But, Doug...

I added pictures!


Doug Hibbard said...

The point of the story is that God works not only in mysterious ways, but much more often through ordinary, obvious ways. That the miraculous should not be expected when the logical is provided.

And yes, it's a valid point.

Steve said...

Doug's point is valid. However, all too often I see this story in a "free will" setting, in which a caricature of Calvinism is dealt with. The God in this story, as I always heard it says, in effect, "If you had chosen to listen to those men, I would have saved you.

Then, the application is made, "the God of Calvinism just yanks you into that boat, and God wouldn't do that." Even more it becomes an "if you're a Calvinist, you'll act like this."

In that, the power of God becomes wholly subordinate to the will of man.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

I've heard this too - with the point Doug has mentioned. We shouldn't expect something miraculous when something obvious and ordinary will do.

God doesn't provide us manna when we can work for a living and shop at the grocery store.

And that we needn't over-spiritualize things.


Sir Aaron said...

The point of the story is that the person failed to see God's providence at work in everything. Instead, he expected an angel from heaven to pick him and deliver him.

The second point is that God's providence doesn't alleviate our own responsibility to do something.

Doug Hibbard said...


You've got a good point. I've typically heard this story more in the view of God working in our lives other than in salvation. For salvation, you'd have to have already drowned, had the rowboat pull your dead self out of the water, been revived by the paramedics....then it only works if the rowboat and the paramedics are allegorical for the direct work of Christ.

So, Steve, you're right, and I'm right--all depends on which part of life the story is aimed towards.

The Squirrel said...


Like Doug, I'd not heard the Arminian application of the story.

Dad's "moral of the story" was always "Don't expect miracles." He would then usually quote Chuck Swindol, who said something along the lines of (I'm paraphrasing) "Miracles are rare. Miracles have never happened all the time. If miracles happened all the time, we'd call them 'ordinaries' instead of 'miracles'."