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Sunday, May 1, 2011

May Day, or, The Lord Helps Him Who Helps Himself

This is one of my favorite stories. An agnostic, taking a cruise in the South Pacific, is the only survivor of a massive shipwreck. Splashing desperately in the briny, about to go down for the third time, he sees a floating crate and crawls on top, exhausted.

"God," he croaks, "Lord, if you exist, reveal yourself and save me, oh please, save me!"

Day turns into night. Night turns into dawn. The straight, flat horizon turns into a straight, flat horizon broken by the silhouette of a nearby cruise ship.

The castaway whispers as he lies atop the crate, "Oh Lord, please show yourself in all your awesome power and save me." The ship slowly steams westward. What little faith the man had is ebbing away.

A hour passes. The silence of the sea is broken by the faint sound of a helicopter, high above.

The man doesn't hear the rotors. He's deep in thought, adrift on his crate. "When will He appear and save me? Can the atheists be right? Is there no God after all?"

A Voice: "I sent you a crate, a cruise ship, and a helicopter. What's it gonna take, pal?"

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