Following the tragic mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, something rare happened. Police Chief Art Acevedo appealed to God. Right now, you’re probably rolling your eyes and thinking that’s not rare.
You’re thinking that he offered the now impotent “thoughts and prayers” or, rather, suggested that the uniquely American phenomenon of school shootings are a result of “Jesus being taken out of schools” or something similar.
But… that was not Chief Acevedo’s take. On the contrary, he said that it’s time we ask God to forgive us for our inaction that continues to allow these tragedies to occur.
Acevedo said in a facebook post, “This isn’t a time for prayers, and study and inaction. It’s a time for prayers, action and the asking of God’s forgiveness for our inaction (especially the elected officials that ran to the cameras today, acted in a solemn manner, called for prayers, and will once again do absolutely nothing).”
Acevedo’s remarks were refreshing and might have reminded some of a certain informal parable; the parable of the flood.
There are a few iterations of this parable, but, essentially. a man found himself trapped inside his house during a flood. He began praying to God for a rescue. The frightened man had envisioned God’s hand reaching down from heaven and lifting him to safety.
The water started to rise in his house, and a neighbor implored him to leave and offered him a ride to certain safety. But the man yelled back, “I am waiting for God to save me!” The neighbor had no choice but to drive away and leave him there — still praying. Still clinging to a vision of God extending His hand in order to lift him to safety.
Eventually, the water rose so high that the praying man had to climb up to the roof. Suddenly, a boat came by with people headed for safe ground. From the boat, they threw the praying man a rope. They, too, implored the praying him to come with them. He informed the people on the boat that he was fine, just waiting for God to save him.
The flood waters rose so that he was teetering on the pitch of his roof, but the praying man continued to pray, believing with absolute certainty that he would be saved by God. The praying man then heard a voice boom over a loudspeaker. The flood waters began to get choppy as the helicopter got nearer, lowered a ladder, and told the man to climb up. He waved the helicopter away, shouting back, “No, I’m waiting for God to save me!” The helicopter flew off.
Then, the rising water came over the roof, completely submerged the house, and the the praying man drowned.
When the praying man reached heaven, he asked God why he didn’t save him. His heart was true, his faith was absolute, so why wouldn’t God answer his prayers when called upon?
God told him, “I sent you a pick-up truck, a boat, and a helicopter. You refused them all! What more did you expect me to do for you?!”
It’s time for American so-called Christians to remember the parable of the flood. And whether you’re religious or not, it is imperative that we all take action using the power endowed upon us.
God’s hand is not required for any of us to take action we are fully capable of taking for ourselves. We can make our voices heard, we can annoy our representatives — at all levels — with calls and emails. We can march. We can protest.
We can vote.
And, if you do happen to believe in God, I’m pretty sure He’ll be very pleased if you find yourself vociferously on the side of American children versus a monolithic gun lobby.