A terrible storm was approaching, and the local town officials sent out an emergency warning that the riverbanks would soon overflow and flood the nearby homes. They ordered everyone in the town to evacuate immediately. A local man heard the warning and decided to stay, saying to himself, “I will trust God and if I am in danger, then God will send a divine miracle to save me.”

As time passed, the man was trapped in his house. He began calling out to God to save him. He had a vision of God’s hand reaching down from heaven and lifting him to safety. As the water started to rise in his house, his neighbor urged him to leave and offered him a ride to safety. The man yelled back, “I am waiting for God to save me.” The neighbor shook his head and drove off in his pick-up truck.

As the water began rising in his house, he had to climb up to the roof. A boat came by with some people heading for higher ground. They yelled at the man to grab a rope they were ready to throw and take him to safety. He told them that he was waiting for God to save him. They moved on.

A helicopter flew by, and a voice came over a loudspeaker offering to lower a ladder and take him to safety. The man waved the helicopter off, shouting back that he was waiting for God to save him. The helicopter hovered and then left.

The flood water rushed over the roof and swept him away. Unfortunately, he quickly drowned.

The next thing he knew, he had reached heaven. The man shyly asked, “God, why did you not save me? I believed in you with all my heart. Why did you let me drown?”

A few moments passed and finally God replied, “I sent you a pick-up truck, a boat and a helicopter, and you refused all of them. What else could I possibly do for you?”

This parable can be applied to our communities “flooded” with the COVID-19 virus and its Delta variant.

A man heard about the COVID-19 outbreak: Stay at home unless you must go out, wash your hands thoroughly, stay six feet away from others, and above all – wear a mask.

During the several weeks his work was closed, he went out only for groceries.

But he refused to wear a mask —and urged others not to wear one. He objected to government telling him what to do. After all, his Creator imbued him with unalienable rights, such as life and liberty.

As the man’s community reopened with limits on crowds at restaurants, bars and other businesses, he was thankful. He wanted to get back to normal.

Despite what experts suggested, the man continued not to wear a mask. He frequented crowded places where face coverings were not worn.

One day, his friends had a large dinner party to celebrate a couple’s anniversary.

A few days later, the man started coughing. He lost his sense of taste and had tightness in his chest.

Later that week he was tested for COVID-19 by his family doctor, and soon, he was admitted to the hospital, delirious with a high fever.

Eventually, he was placed on a ventilator, and like many before him, died alone.

In heaven, he shyly asked, “God, I prayed repeatedly for you to protect me from the coronavirus. I believed in you with all my heart and soul. There must be some mistake.”

God answered, “You saw the carnage. I gave health officials the wisdom to let you know to wash your hands, stay six feet apart and to wear a mask. I gave you wisdom to pass the word that masks would help you and others to be safe. Your leaders let you know to avoid large gatherings, especially indoors.

“Now I have given scientists a cerebral cortex and wisdom to invent vaccines quicker than ever before that will protect communities against the virus. But what did you do? You refused to be vaccinated – the  one miracle that was needed to eradicate the rapid transmission of this virus.”

Lesson: God helps those who help themselves.

Marshall Ward is a Murray resident who is a member of the Democratic Party. He may be reached at josephmarshallward@gmail.com.

Editor’s Note: Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of the Murray Ledger & Times.