It was as if a giant bucket were being upended over us. We could hardly see the blueberries only hundred feet away. The roar on the metal roof was deafening. The rushing water overwhelmed the culvert in the drive and washed over the road and out to the garden where it ran against the berm in a narrow creek. We had built that berm precisely because of rains like this one—we were tired of wading “downstream” to rescue washed away garden plants.
Eventually we left the porch which was not much shelter in a rain like that—the merest breeze left us damp and shivering, even in the summer. So we stepped back inside and looked out the windows to the north. Now you could really tell—we are definitely on a hill. Water ran like a river across the entire width of the yard, from the front steps to the fence, ten to twelve inches deep. We watched leaves, twigs, and moss float “downstream” to the run on the east side of the property. After the rain stopped, it kept running, draining the whole hillside, for another hour.
A week after that rain, I walked the path the water had taken. Leaves were washed into piles a foot deep along the runnel. Limbs hung up on some of the bushes but others, dragged by the running water, lay piled up against the fence which had acted as a sieve as the water ran through it. Channels several inches deep marked the dried mud, and the grass was still bent over in the direction the water had flowed. Running water is powerful.
The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep, Gen 7:17-20.
The waters of the great Flood “prevailed.” Those waters not only covered the earth, they drowned every living creature on it that was not in the ark or swimming in the newly created worldwide ocean. Have you ever seen a flash flood? Have you ever heard the stories of one? No one can win against those “prevailing” waters. If you try to hang on to something, you simply wear out and are washed downstream.
The same word is used in Ex 17:11: So Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought with Amalek, while Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. We are talking about winning a war with that word; that’s the strength implied in its use. It should be no surprise that “prevailed” is also translated “strong” and “mighty.”
So why is that important? Because the same Hebrew word is used in Psalm 117:2. For great is His steadfast love toward us. God’s love for us is strong; it is mighty. It is like rushing water that carries along everything in its path. It is like an army winning a war. Sometimes we seem to doubt that. “But I’ve been so bad,” we say, “how can God love me?” He can love you because His love is great. It can prevail against the worst of sins.
The next time you doubt it, think about flood waters, think about an army that can win a war. God’s love is just like those things. It prevails over all.
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord, Rom 8:38,39.