Sometimes, the faithful make faith a gauntlet
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" -- John 3:16
So one day, the skies crack open and a deluge falls upon this small town. Soon, the waters rise, and the streets become impassable. And this preacher kneels on the front steps of his church and prays for deliverance. A man in a canoe happens by.
"Jump in, preacher! The waters are rising fast."
"No," calls the preacher. "I have faith in the Lord. He will save me."
The storm continues to pound the town and the waters to rise. The preacher has to move his prayer to the balcony. A man in a motorboat comes by. "Get in, preacher. The levee is not going to hold!"
Still the preacher resists. "No," he says. "I have faith in the Lord. He will save me."
The levee breaks. Water cascades through the town. The preacher is forced to climb the church steeple. He clings there, praying. A woman in a helicopter lowers a ladder. "Grab hold, preacher!" she calls.
Still the preacher will not move. "I have faith in the Lord. He will save me."
So the preacher drowns. When he gets to heaven, he confronts his maker. "Lord, I had faith in you," he says. "Why didn't you save me?" And the Lord says, "I sent you two boats and a helicopter. What more did you want?"
That is, yes, an oldie but goodie. If you've spent any time in Christian circles, you've probably heard it before. Still, there is a certain wisdom in that chestnut that feels appropriate to this moment when we observe Easter in the shadow of a deadly pandemic.