One summer, which doesn’t seem too many years ago, our family took off for Toronto, Canada by car via several stops including Niagara Falls.
These children are in college now, but God is still teaching through our experiences on that trip.
The Niagara River runs north twenty-three miles from Lake Erie to Niagara Falls and then moves on another thirteen miles to Lake Ontario. The Falls themselves transcend any idyllic picture postcard depiction, because it was not so much how Niagara Falls looked that moved me, but how the waterfall made me feel.
It felt like unrelenting, unending explosions of power.
We drove beyond the falls, and witnessed the escalating force of the Cascade rapids. The rapids churned the water towards the precipice of the falls, a mighty torrent of six million cubic feet of water plummeting over the falls every second.
Yet the power of Niagara is miniscule compared to the power of God.
As I stood at the rail looking out over the falls, the water misting my face, I gained a greater understanding of how big, how mighty, and how powerful God is.
Yesterday, I read again in Brennen Manning’s Abba’s Child, “Living in awareness of our belovedness is the axis around which the Christian life revolves. Being the beloved is our identity.” Understanding the quality of God’s love for us makes a difference every moment of our lives.
But the questions assualt us--will his love hold? Will it last?
At one time in my life, if you’d asked me if the sense I had at Niagara Falls had anything to do with intimacy with God, with His love for us, I might have said no—that the power, the might, the thunder are other dimensions of God which don’t inform His intimacy. But I would’ve been wrong.
Power and might have everything to do with God’s love, because his love is not fragile, but awesomely strong. His love is strong enough to endure, to last, to hold with a tenacity we can’t begin to imagine and yet tender and gentle at the same time.
Manning again: “Suppose for a moment that in a flash of insight you discovered that all your motives for ministry were essentially egocentric, or suppose that last night you got drunk and committed adultery, or suppose that you failed to respond to a cry for help and the person committed suicide. What would you do?
“Would guilt, self-condemnation, and self-hatred consume you, or would you jump into the water and swim a hundred yards at breakneck speed toward Jesus? ...would you let Jesus be who He is—a Savior of boundless compassion and infinite patience…?”
The sense I had of the immensity of God’s power at Niagara translates to the immensity of God’s love.
A wise tentmaker said it well, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).