I spent the night in a forest once and filtered my water from between two rocks, where a stream got caught and pulled through, bubbling up on the other side. It was just the place to rinse my fingers or fill my bottle.
Streams flow down, and we use that phrase for grace too, because it rings of gentleness and continuity. If we’re talking about our own grace toward others, it sounds nice. I wouldn’t mind more gentle persistence in the way I extend Jesus to people.
But God’s grace is not a stream, and it does not get tugged into a little current, and it is no trickle on the other side.
Grace flows down sang in my head as I stood at the railing of Niagara Falls last month, but the phrase got lost in the roar. Water moved to the edge of a cliff and plummeted into an abyss of white rain. It hit the rocks and made rainbows.
Across from the railing, a piece of cliff jutted toward me, cut off from the Falls by – well – more Falls. And down that little cliff jumped a rivulet of water. I’m sure it flowed faster than my forest stream, but with 680,000 gallons of water as a backdrop, it just looked cute. I actually laughed at it. And when I was done laughing and left the railing and rode down the highway to our next stop, that finger of water stayed in my head.
I think it’s how I imagine God’s grace.
And meanwhile, in the backdrop, real grace is rushing, rising over cliffs, and roaring down to crush my sin with its white weight.
Then it does it again.
It’s roaring, even now.
“But where sin increased, grace abounded all the more…” – Romans 5:20