Such a vivid image is conjured up with the term grip, or gripping. It's a word we readily identify as we read through a suspenseful book, or we bite our lips over a particularly dramatic movie (can anyone say "Raiders of the Lost Ark"?), or as we yank our jacket - or worse, our hand - from the now-shut car door. It's far more cunning if we're attempting to give up smoking (how well I remember!), or any other bad habit.
The scripture weaves a powerful thread throughout it's many pages about grip's power. Depending on context, it's either a good thing, or a not-so-good thing.
In the opening salvo of Luke's Gospel, we are gripped right along with the man-Priest Zechariah: Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him (Zechariah), standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. (vs 11-12). I mean, who wouldn't be should Mr. Angel creature show up for a tete a tete?
Yep. Gripping is most often married to startling, and it quite often entails shock & awe.
Most of the time we wriggle free of that which grips us. The book ends; the movie too. We pull ourselves free of the car door. But, according to the scriptures, there are two grips against which we have no pulling power. Their hold is firm - unrelenting, unending, and un-releasing.
The one is sin.
The other is God's saving grace.
Before the coming of this faith,
we were held in custody under the law,
locked up until the faith
that was to come would be revealed.
So the law was our guardian until
Christ came that we might be justified by faith.
Now that this faith has come,
we are no longer under a guardian.
~ Galatians 3:23-26
I've not read it, but Max Lucado has even penned a book about the tenacity of grace's grip. I love it's tagline:
Your Father Always Caught You. He Still Does.
Some things seek to grip me still (thank goodness, NOT smoking). But nothing can equal this oft-misunderstood & maligned commodity called grace.
From the Law's grip to the Lord's. Now that's gripping!
For sin shall no longer be your master,
because you are not under the law,
but under grace.
~ Romans 6:14
Jesus prayed ... "Father, the hour has come.
Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
For you granted him authority over all people
that he might give eternal life
to all those you have given him.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you,
the only true God, and Jesus Christ,
whom you have sent.
~ John 17:1-3