Oceans of Love
July 2, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Greetings from Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina! My family and I are enjoying summer vacation on the beach (and my nephew is getting married tonight). My kids love the beach and ocean for hours of adventurous play (don't worry, we're looking out for sharks). I love the ocean because of its power and rhythms and beauty and depth of mystery. As one of God's splendid creations, the ocean has inspired much poetic reflection. One of my favorite hymns incorporates the imagery of the ocean:
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless free.
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of His love.
Leading onward, leading homeward, to His glorious rest above.
The hymn writer is marveling at the astonishing love of God, much like Paul in Romans 5:8: "God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." We have done nothing, we can do nothing to bind God into loving us. God is totally free, and totally not obligated, in extended his love toward us. The vastness of our sin and rebellion against God accents the vastness of God's "unmeasured and boundless" love. Praise God for his glorious love!
As the ocean can easily envelope us in its powerful waves, so God's love can envelope us in God's powerful recreative work. This is the aim of God's love, to transform, renew and secure us in Christ. "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us" (Romans 5:5). God's love is not poured on us to affirm us as we are (as a self-esteem boost); God's love has greater plans for us. May you know the goodness of God's love in leading you.
Notice the place God's love has in Paul's prayer for the Ephesians: "For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith-that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Ephesians 3:14-19).