I've heard the following story many times over the years, with slight variations each time. The message always holds true. I present it here, followed by a few comments:
God, the Old Man, and the River
There was an old man who lived in a small town near a river. The old man was a Christian. He went to church every Sunday, and he prayed and read the Bible everyday. He was a good man, and well liked in his community.
It had been a particularly wet winter, and the spring was no different. The river that ran by the small town that the old man lived in was quite full. In fact, the only reason the river had not yet flooded was the presence of a large dam a hundred miles up river from the small town. The dam was successfully regulating the river for now, but was finally at full capacity.
The old man was watching TV one evening when he heard the bad news. The dam was beginning to fail. If the rain didn't stop soon, the small town where the old man lived was sure to flood. The weatherman came on and said that the forecast was for more heavy storms. The old man prayed "Lord, keep this town and me safe. I place my trust in you to handle this situation."
The rains were heavy the next morning when the old man woke up. He turned on the radio to listen to his favorite Christian music station. The radio announcer was giving a dire warning. The dam had failed. The river was flooding. People in the small town were being told to evacuate immediately. The old man prayed "Lord, keep this town and me safe. I place my trust in you to handle this situation."
The river began to rise. Streets in sections of the small town nearest the river were flooded. People were leaving as fast as they could. A knock came on the old man's front door. It was his neighbor checking up on the old man and asking him if he needed a ride out of town. The old man said "no." After his neighbor left, the old man prayed "Lord, keep this town and me safe. I place my trust in you to handle this situation."
Later that afternoon, the flood waters reached the old man's neighborhood. It quickly flooded the streets, and eventually became high enough to flood out the first floor of the old man's house. The old man retreated to the second floor of his house. He heard a commotion outside. It was some rescue workers in a boat searching for people who were trapped by the rising flood. They waved at him and brought the boat near the old man's bedroom window. They shouted at him to open the window, and they would get him into the boat and to safety. The old man simply shook his head. He would place his trust in the Lord. If it was His will, He would save him.
Finally, the boat had to move away from the old man's house. Soon after, the house, damaged by the flood, collapsed. The old man drowned.
The old man went to heaven. He was happy, but something concerned him. He asked the Lord, "Why did you not save me when I placed my trust in you?"
The Lord smiled patiently at the old man. "I sent you the news report to warn you the day before the flood. I sent you the radio announcement that you should flee to higher ground on the morning of the flood. I sent your neighbor to offer you a ride out of town when it was still possible to drive to safety. I sent the boat of rescue workers to save you minutes before your house would collapse."
Pay attention to the news and you will hear many warnings - economic troubles, job losses, massive and rising government debt, loss of economic and individual freedoms, a moving away from the Constitution and Bill of Rights, a watering down of Freedom of Religion into mere freedom of worship, a growing hostility towards anyone with a traditional worldview, especially traditional Christians and Jews, an invasion of Europe by millions of Muslims insisting that Europe change itself to fit the Muslim worldview, Christians in the Middle East being burnt alive, beheaded, raped, or forced into sex-slavery... And the list keeps going on... The world is growing ever more unstable, unsustainable, and dangerous, especially for Christians and Jews holding firm to our traditional values and beliefs.
We are being warned, each and every day, of dangers and bad times coming. We can choose to listen and prepare - both spiritually and physically. Or we can choose to ignore the warnings. The choice is ours.
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