A story of a cleric and his indomitable faith in God. An inspiration to us all!

There was a major flood. Maybe it was in New Orleans, maybe somewhere else, it doesn't matter. One victim was a priest who lived in an isolated house out in the country.

As his living room flooded, he spoke a short prayer and prudently moved from the ground floor to the second floor, whence after more rising water and more praying, he ascended to his attic. Not too long afterward, he was forced to sit on the roof. All around him the countryside was flooded and looked like a lake with some treetops emerging from the water at a distance. His prayers had become more frequent.

Not too long, and a fisherman happened by in a rowboat. "Would you like a lift," the kind man offered. "I can get us to dry land." But the priest declined: "God will save me, thank you anyway" and went back to his prayers.

Anon, the water rose high enough that the priest had to stand upright, up to his hips in the cold water. Shivering, he pumped out more prayers.

He heard a motor in the distance, and soon a Coast Guard rescue vessel approached. Men in uniforms with life preservers urged the priest to board and be rescued, but his faith was strong. Though unhappy with his predicament, he insisted that he would wait for divine salvation.

As the day dragged on, the water rose some more, until it was up to the good man's neck. Looking up to a new sound from above, he saw a police helicopter and, dangling from a rope ladder, a man with an outstretched hand. But so strong was his faith in the Lord that once again he refused to leave his precarious perch on the roof. At this point, he was praying incessantly for salvation from a wet demise.

Inevitably, inexorably, the water rose until the priest had to swim to stay above it. But the cold had tired him; soon he gasped his last breath of air, sank, and drowned.

When his eyes opened again, the priest was standing face to face with his boss and creator. Though he was in heaven, he could not help feeling disappointed. "My god, why have you forsaken me?"

My son, this flood kept me very busy. Yet I sent you a rowboat, a Coast Guard cruiser and a police helicopter. Why didn't you accept the opportunities I gave you?

When I read this node, I was immediately reminded of the joke I've reproduced from memory, above. Alas, the origin of the joke is unknown, so I can't cite a source. Not a knee-slapper but mildly funny – at least I think so.