The Bible often portrays the grace of God as a thin stream of refreshing water that perseveres in a desert land. The only way our parched souls can survive in a spiritually desolate society is to stay close to that stream. That is why we come to worship, read our Bibles, serve others, and pray without ceasing throughout the day. It’s all a way of drinking in the grace that keeps us spiritually alive. The more time we spend by that stream, the more deeply our lives become rooted in God (Psalm 1).
Those roots are pretty important because sometimes we get more grace than we want. It doesn’t happen often, but when the storms come, the thin stream can suddenly turn into a raging river, washing away everything that is not firmly planted. We never want to get too sentimental about grace. While most days it is God’s gentle refreshment to our souls, some days it comes as a terrifying reminder that our lives are out of control.
On the stormy days, we may wonder if it was such a good idea to live so close to the stream. We may even wish God would just leave us alone. Yet if the torrent sweeps away the things that are not spiritually rooted, then even that is a grace. Remember, the point of God’s grace is not to be nice to us. Grace does what we cannot do for ourselves. It carries us home to God. Sometimes on a gentle stream. Sometimes on a raging river. Yet always back to God.
(from Extravagant Mercy by M. Craig Barnes)