The Midges' Torrential Rivers. Radical Grace from the Book of Romans (6:1-2)


The creek-turned-river near the Faerie Pools 

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (Rom 6:1-2, NIV2)

This is an illustration of the power of temptation and what it can do when we give in.

Our last day on the Isle of Skye in Scotland had been a wet one. Still, we absolutely wanted to see the Faerie Pools, even though it was past six in the evening. Once we arrived at the parking lot, however, we were greeted by yet another torrential downpour, forcing us to wait in the car for 20 minutes, until the rain drizzled into nothingness. This, we had learned, was quite normal for Scotland!

When we stepped out of our car, we were greeted by an abundance of vicious Scottish midgets, tiny insects, almost imperceptible, whose thirst for our blood seemed insatiable. Still we persevered, heading for our destination, even though precious blood would be lost during this endeavor.

It wasn't long before we stood in front of a creek. Or at least, that is what it was called. To me, it seemed much more like a fast-flowing river. The rain had increased its volume exponentially, and the "trickle" of the waterfall a bit further upstream seemed to have become as powerful as Victoria Falls. How could we cross? It would sweep us under!

Determined to not be robbed of our goal, my wife wandered upstream to try and find a safe crossing. Meanwhile, the midges made a feast of my head, my arms, my . . . Well you get the picture. Nothing was safe from those vicious little bugs!

My wife soon returned with bad news: There was no path that she felt would be safe enough to cross this creek-turned-river.

But we really did want to see those Faerie Pools. Why not start from the end of the circular trail? Maybe there wouldn't be any more creek-crossings there, and maybe the midges would lose track of us . . .

We headed back up our trail to find the place where the end of the trail met up with the beginning. There we also met up with two fellow hikers who were just returning from the Faerie Pools. They brought us terrible news: the streams on this trail had also become impossible to cross, due to the heavy rain throughout the day.

By this time the rain had started back up, and the midges had once again found us. Nonetheless, we still wanted to continue on the trail, but our fellow hikers were adamant: "One false step in that 'river' could lead to your death!"

And so it was that our hopes and dreams were defeated by drops of water from the heavens and by tiny invisible insects. Quite ironic, don't you think?

Had we given in to the temptation to reach these pools no matter what the cost, it could have cost us our lives. Only later did we realize that our obstinate tendency could have led to our downfall. Still we ended up with a beautiful picture of the creek-turned-river with its waterfall in the background.

Sin is considerably worse than our thirst for adventure. Once we give in to temptation, sin has us in its vicious grip. The more we fight against it, the more we become entangled in its grip. Eventually it will lead us to our total downfall. Why would anyone want to remain in such a defeated lifestyle?

Jesus died for us so that we would not have to remain in the hopelessness of sin. He came to set us free, not to entangle us even more: "So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (John 8:36, NIV)

Would you like to come with me to the Faerie Pools? It will be fun, especially since the creeks have turned impassable! What an adventure!

Rob Chaffart

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