To Our Readers


Sunday, May 13, 2001

A doctor’s fable about
faith and self-reliance

A FRIEND has been fighting off prostate cancer solely through diet, prayer and meditation. We've worried about this nonmedical approach, but he's been seeing his doctor for exams and tests, so we've kept our peace.

He called this week with the news that his latest blood tests showed a disappointing increase in telltale prostate specific antigen. His PSA level wasn't critical yet, but it wasn't responding to his efforts either.

The doctor, he said, sat him down and told him this story:

A man lived near a river that began to flood. The waters rose and rose until the first floor of his house was a foot under.

A neighbor with a boat offered to carry the man to safety. "No," the man answered. "I'm relying on my faith in the Lord. I know he will protect me from the flood."

As the water kept rising toward the first-floor ceiling, the man took refuge upstairs.

A fire department rescue team in a boat found him looking out the second-story window. They hailed the man saying they would take him to high ground.

"Thanks anyway," the man shouted. "I've decided to stay here in my house. I know God will protect and save me." The firefighters went away.

Overnight, the waters continued to rise, forcing the man to the roof which began to buckle and move in the current. A rescue helicopter spotted the man with its searchlight.

Trusting in his faith, the man waved the helicopter away. Moments later, the roof collapsed and the man drowned.

Finding himself in heaven, the man was annoyed. He said to St. Peter, "I put my faith in the Lord and look at me -- I'm dead! I must talk to God about this. I trusted him to save me."

St. Peter said fine and set up a meeting. He and the man entered the holy presence. "I put my faith in you but you let me down," the man told God.

"What do you mean?" the Almighty replied.

"I sent you two boats and a helicopter, didn't I?"

John Flanagan is editor and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.
To reach him call 529-4748, fax to 529-4750, send
e-mail to or write to
500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-500, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.

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