Fire engines, Rowboats and Helicopters

When God steps in, what does it look like?

It’s an old joke. A man of deep faith is threatened by a deadly flood. As the rising waters are lapping against his front stoop, a fire engine pulls up in front, and the driver calls out, “Sir! Wade over to the truck and we’ll take you to safety!” To which the man replies, “No, thank you. God will save me!” The truck drives off.

Four hours later in the evening darkness the waters have reached the man’s living room. Two rescuers come to the door in a rowboat. “Sir, climb in the boat, and we’ll get you out of here!” Again, the man refuses. “Thank you, but you can go on about your business. God will save me!” The boat drifts away.

Early the next morning the water has risen to the roof top and the man is clinging to the chimney. A helicopter roars overhead and hovers above the man, and a rescue cable slowly drops toward him. Over a loudspeaker the pilot cries out, “Grab hold of the cable and we’ll reel you in!” But the man waves the pilot away. “I’ll be fine,” he cries over the roar of the helicopter. “You can go rescue someone else! God will save me!” The pilot reluctantly flies off, and minutes later the flood waters pull the man free from the chimney and he drowns.

Instantly he finds himself in heaven, face to face with the Lord. “Oh, Lord, how wonderful to be in Your presence!” he cries out. “But, Lord, I thought You were going to save me from the flood waters! Why didn’t You?”

“What are you talking about, my son?” God answers. “I sent you a fire engine, a rowboat and a helicopter. What else did you expect Me to do?”

What is it we’re expecting God to do? What does God’s intervention look like? We probably imagine that, when God steps in, it looks like Hollywood, complete with angelic choirs and special effects. But I suspect that far more often God’s little miracles look like fire engines, rowboats and helicopters. The moral: God’s not bound by our expectations. He’ll show His hand in unexpected ways!

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