This has to the most perceptive joke ever about the Christian life. Probably you will already know it – but for those who haven’t, here it is.
A Christian was caught in rising floodwaters. He climbed onto the roof of his house and prayed to God to rescue him.
His neighbour came by in a boat. “The waters will soon be above your house. Get in!”
“No thanks” he replied “I’ve prayed to God and he will save me”
A short time later the police launch arrived. “The waters will soon be above your house. Get in.”
“No thanks” he replied again. “I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me.”
Finally the rescue helicopter arrived. “The waters will soon be above your house. Take the harness!”
He replied: “No thanks. I’ve prayed to God and I’m sure he will save me.”
The floodwaters continued to rise – and this faithful disciple drowned.
On his arrival in heaven he asked God. “Lord, I prayed for you to save me, I trusted you to save me from that flood.”
“Yes you did my child” replied the Lord. “And I sent you a boat, a launch and a helicopter. But you never got in!”
For my daily Bible readings this week I am going through unarguably the strangest book in the Bible – Esther. It’s in the Old Testament sandwiched between Nehemiah and Job.
It is as if the commissioning editor of the Bible (i.e. the Holy Spirit) briefed the writer to tell the story of the remarkable survival of the Jewish exiles in the Persian empire but without mentioning prayer, miracles, the covenant, the Temple or even the Jewish law, the Torah.
And to cap it all, to make no mention of God himself, none at all – which is frankly eccentric if you are writing the Bible.
And what is even weirder, in this short book of only 167 verses, the Median King is mentioned 192 times, his kingdom is referred to 26 times, and his name Ahasuerus (Xerxes, in some translations) is given 29 times.
So I think we can draw the conclusion that someone is making a point here.
And the point is that God is continuously working behind the scenes to bring Jewish deliverance. Some remarkable coincidences happen; King Ahasuerus just happens to have a brain wave just at the right time.
There are more twists and turns than in the Greek/Eurozone negotiations. Amazingly and unexpectedly, it all comes together. And yes, we are saved!
One of the things I have learned over my Christian life is that God is powerfully at work in the ordinary events of life, all the time. Nothing spectacular or even miraculous. And the chances are, we don’t even realise what he is about.
“To live your best life now” advises pastor Joel Osteen, “you must learn to trust God’s timing, you may not think he’s working, but you can be sure that right now, behind the scenes, God is arranging all the pieces to come together to work out his plan for your life.”
I can’t hang around this morning. Jacqui has an angiogram booked for 8.00 am at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital at Broadgreen – where she trained for her SRN all those years ago. Pray for her, pray that the doctor and his team do the job well, for a good outcome. That is, for our healing God to be at work.
And should you be caught in any floodwaters today, pray for God’s rescue – and then assuming there’s room, jump into the nearest boat.