“I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width and height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19, HCS
My grandmother lived in Illinois, and she reached age 70 without ever once seeing the ocean. She’d read about the sea, seen pictures of its waves, could even point at a map and show you the Atlantic. My grandmother knew there was an ocean.
But then, my parents moved to Florida. When my grandmother came to visit, they took her to the beach. She stepped out on the sand, took in a gulp of salty air and listened to the roar. The sky curved down to meet the water, arching in a planet-sized semi-circle around her. She stumbled, nearly toppling. My parents both scrambled to catch her. They had to stand on either side of her, holding her arms, so that she could take in the dizzying sight before her. “It is bigger than anything I have ever – ever – seen.”
It was at that moment that my grandmother really knew the ocean.
God loves me. I know that. I’ve read it and sung it since childhood. But being able to explain it or quote verses about it or even believing it – all that is my grandmother before she boarded that train to Florida. It’s head knowledge.
I want more than that. I want to be so awed by the depth and length and width and height of God’s love that I stumble in awe—that others must hold me up while I just stand there and marvel. I want to take in great gulps of his love, to be so filled with fullness of it that peace washes over me like the warm waves of Florida’s ocean.
Lately, some circumstances in my life have been bathing me in sadness, and quite frankly, a few weeks ago, I slipped into the first kind of knowing. I believed God loved me. But I didn’t feel like it. Then one day as I folded laundry, matching socks and worrying, God whispered to my heart, “I love you.”
It was the ocean again. I sat down, right on top of the rumpled laundry, and sobbed. I got it. The God of the universe loved me. And with that heart knowledge, that experience-kind of knowing, came Atlantic–sized peace. I write this so that next time I slip, I can go back and re-read it and remind myself how fiercely God’s love for me roars.