On May 9, 2011, a smart dude by the name of Richard Panek stood before a graduating class at a university in New York. I am sure all in attendance expected him to wow them with his extensive knowledge of the universe or perhaps share some interesting stories about recent discoveries in space exploration. Rather, he began with these words, “The overwhelming majority of the universe is… who knows?” In other words, all of his research and training had caused him to discover that only about 4% of the universe is even made up of matter that we can currently comprehend. The rest.. who knows?
The universe is so vast that our ability to understand it is simply limited. So it is with our God. We often talk about the love of God in a way that implies we can fully understand it. In theological circles we call God’s love one of his ‘communicable’ attributes, which is just fancy language for saying that love is an attribute of God that we share with him. So, how well do we understand the love of God?
Well, God’s love is often compared to the love that a father has for their child. For example, 1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” As a father of 3 children I think that I have a pretty good understanding of God’s love then, because I love my kids. I would do just about anything for them because of my great love for them. Yet, if I am honest, after 4 weeks of being quarantined with my children my Google search history reveals I did a little research on whether boarding schools are accepting students at this present time. It would appear that my love has limitations.
The Apostle Paul, in the book of Ephesians, breaks into prayer halfway through his letter. He prays that God’s children would be strengthened and that Christ would dwell in them and then he prays this:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. – Ephesians 3:17b-19 (NIV)
Don’t miss that. He prays that Christians would come to know the unknowable love of God. God’s love is so vast (wide, long, high and deep) that full comprehension is unattainable for us. So Paul prays that they might just begin to grasp the depth of God’s love for his children. As we have studied Paul’s prayers from the book of Ephesians we have learned that he prays to a God that is powerful and sovereign over all, and in this last prayer we see that this amazing God also has a love for his children that you and I can not fathom.
It is one thing to know a God who is all-powerful, it is altogether another thing to know that this same God loves you dearly. And he does love you dearly, Christian. So, let’s live like this is true, because it is. Let me conclude with these words from Paul:
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. – Ephesians 5:1-2
My prayer for you is that you might begin to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.