The law entered in so that transgression might increase but, where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through justification for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The speed of evil
Evil rushes towards us so quickly. For a while, everything goes well, like the course of a speedy boat atop smooth waters. Then, with only one slight wobble as warning, the full force of evil has pierced us, dragging us to the depths. It affects our lives in irreparable ways. Evil is so swift that, due to our fears, it has the power to overtake us even before it happens.
Look at the life of Christ Himself. One evening, He enjoyed a meal with His friends. The next, He was buried in another man’s tomb. He was nearly unrecognizable due to the evil that came upon Him in the most horrifying ways.
Why does good not have this same power? We often anticipate good long before it comes. It’s in no hurry! How can goodness be so patient when evil goes about accomplishing its purpose?
One important concept in basketball is pace. Whichever team is winning moves quickly. They achieve basket after basket. Faster and faster the game flies, leaving the losing team panting and demoralized. It seems nothing they do will allow them to catch up with their opponents.
The losing team is tempted to speed up, to try to beat the winners at their own pace. To give in to this temptation, however, is to literally play into the winners’ hands. They like the pace; they set it themselves. They have the momentum, and the faster the game goes, the faster they get. Truly, the losers have no hope of catching up.
There is only one answer: slow down! This will steal their momentum and allow the losing team to find its own pace. Only then can they make up for lost baskets.
Stillness: the pace of good
The forces of good can look like that losing team. As we have battled evil, points in twos and threes have gone to the enemy. The faster we try to counter evil, the more we try to predict its motion, the fewer times we even lay hands on control.
The battle against evil must not be fought at evil’s pace. Evil moves swiftly. But the truth is, grace is already there, always ahead. Grace awaits evil’s approach patiently, and–with no movement at all–overcomes it completely.
Even the swiftness of evil is a gain for goodness.
What can pierce man’s mind like evil? What can puncture his steel heart like his own sin? With these holes, we begin to sink into the sea, our speed crippled. What is that sea but grace, goodness overflowing? When evil has pierced mind and heart, grace is already waiting to seep in and heal all wounds.
Those still waters surround us all; that is the pace of the good.