Refuged in our homes from the season’s deepest cold and dark, absent focus, minds can turn listless or anxious.
A brilliant scarlet dawn can be seen as a threat to “take warning”, harbinger of a day probable with difficulties. Or, it can be seen as bright evidence of an extraordinarily beautiful start to a day ripe with possibility.
It is easy to see life as a constant struggle – that we are rarely presented with what we expect or what we feel entitled to on our own terms. Closer to the truth is that we are almost always presented with the opportunities to get exactly what we want or need. Whether our desires are realized or not is based on the choices we make.
There is a story of a very devout, but stubborn man who lived in a modest house along a river. A storm provoked the river to compromise it’s banks, and the man, trying to escape the flood waters, found himself on the roof of his home.
The man’s neighbor rowed to his house in a boat, and offered to give the man a ride to the safety of higher ground.
The man declined, stating “I have faith in God; he will protect me here on my roof”.
Later, as the flood waters continued to rise, officials came by in a motor boat ordering the man to evacuate so they could deliver him to safety. The man refused, again stating that his faith would protect him.
Darkness fell, the waters continued to rise as a helicopter’s powerful search light spotted the man, now clinging precariously to the very peak of his home’s roof.
The rescue crew was astonished when the man refused to be hoisted to the safety of the helicopter, again stating that his faith would protect him. They tried at length to talk the man into joining them, but the helicopter ran low on fuel putting the entire crew in peril; finally they abandoned the man in the dark.
As the helicopter returned to it’s base to refuel, the flood waters rose over the peak of the roof, washing the man away into the dark swirling waters. Exhausted from clinging to the roof for hours, the man soon drowned.
When he reached the pearly gates, the man said with a somewhat indignant air: “God, I lived a devout life, I had faith in you – why did you forsake me and let me die in the flood? I am disappointed and surprised that you let me drown.”
God replied “I too am disappointed and surprised that you drowned. After all, while you were on the roof, I did send you two boats and a helicopter…”.
Whether God’s ways seem mysterious or obvious, it is good to keep in mind that along with faith and devotion, we still have to do our part.