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  • Shawn Thornton

Not Just Deep and Wide


Thursday - February 24th

Scripture to Read Today: Ephesians 3:14-21

 

May (you) 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.

Ephesians 3:18


My parents were committed to Christ and His local church before I was born. Every week, they went to church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and for prayer meetings on Wednesday nights. Within a week or two of being born, I was in the church nursery. So, some of my earliest recollections emerge from my time at church. I learned several songs that formed my earliest theology as a toddler.


Staples we sang, such as "Jesus Loves Me" and "The B-I-B-L-E," were songs Lesli and I would later teach our children when they were toddlers. One song I enjoyed singing as a kid because of the hand motions--but I never really understood--was "Deep and Wide." The lyrics were relatively simple, and so were the hand motions. Here are the lyrics to the song:


Deep and wide, deep and wide

There's a fountain flowing deep and wide.

Deep and wide, deep and wide

There's a fountain flowing deep and wide.


I told you the words to the song were simple. The hand motions just emphasized what the words declared. Over the years, a few teachers in Sunday School taught that the song spoke of the blood of Jesus shed for us. Others said the song was about God's love for us. Either way, God's loving sacrifice to save us seemed to be at the heart of the simple song.


In his New Testament writings, the Apostle Paul emphasized God's love is hard to measure. In Ephesians 3:18, Paul prayed that the followers of Christ at Ephesus would have the power "to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." Paul wanted each of us to understand the vastness of God's love for us. He used every dimension fathomable at the time to broaden our perspective of, and appreciation for, God's love.


We tend to limit God's love. We think that we or others have done such awful things there is no place for God in our lives. There is no way he could extend an immeasurable love toward any of us. Often, we make it very personal. Maybe His love can bring forgiveness and cleansing to others, but not me. My sin, my “stuff,” is just too much. We convince ourselves that God's love has limits, and those limits must apply to our lives.


Paul clarifies that any attempt to measure the width, length, depth, or height of God's love will fail. You cannot measure it with a measuring tape. You cannot measure it by human expectations. God's love flows from God. Its vastness cannot be comprehended. The song I learned as a child in church started to express the vastness of God's love, but it stopped short. Yes, God's love is deep and wide, but it is also long and high!


Nothing you have ever thought, said, or done can be (or ever will be) outside of God's love for you in Christ!

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