Grasping the Love of Jesus

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. (Ephesians 3:17-18, NIV)

Happy Easter! (A little late, but it's always a good time to celebrate the events of Easter morning!)

Over the past couple of days, I've been pondering the above verse. What does it mean for Jesus' love to be wide, long, high, and deep?

Whenever I see this verse, I think of the song "Your Love Is Deep". It's a song popular at Young Life camps and conveys the message in a simple yet profound way:

Your love is deep
Your love is high
Your love is long
Your love is wide

Deeper than my view of grace
Higher than the highest place
Longer than this road I've traveled
Wider than the gap you've filled

As I struggle to grasp the meaning of this love, here are some brief thoughts...

Wide Love: 

God's love is wide enough to include anyone who wants to be included.

It's wide enough to tell Jonah to get on a ship and visit his enemies. Wide enough to prepare a feast of "unclean" food for Peter to make some new friends.

Jesus once told a simple story about a fishing net.

Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. (Matthew 13:47-48, NIV)

Jesus' words are sobering and a bit scary. But I find comfort in this net being so wide. It pulls up all kinds of fish. In God's kingdom, all are welcome to rest in the grace and love of Jesus. No one has to be left out. That love is available to anyone who accepts it.

Long Love:

Long enough to cover the distance when we're stuck in a pigsty. Long enough for a father to embarrass himself by running down the road like a giddy child to greet his lost son. 

Long enough for a weary shepherd to venture out into the dangerous wilderness to find his lost sheep.

High Love:

I must admit, this one stumped me a bit. What does it mean for love to be "high"?

I thought about the song "Higher Love" by Steve Winwood. (And the very 80's music video!)

Things look so bad everywhere
In this whole world, what is fair?
We walk blind and we try to see
Falling behind in what could be

Bring me a higher love
Bring me a higher love (oh oh)
Bring me a higher love
Where's that higher love I keep thinking of?

Things in this world don't always make a whole lot of sense. Tragedies can leave us blindly searching for meaning. But Jesus' love for us transcends the brokenness of this world. It can give us a higher perspective on suffering that we so desperately need.

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. (John 16:33, NLT)

Deep Love:

Love so deep that it plunges our sin to the bottom of the ocean floor.

Love so deep that it willingly faces the goriness of the cross and kicks down the gates of hell so that no one has to be separated from God.

I don't think I'll ever be able to fully grasp Jesus' love for me. But as I ponder the empty tomb this week, I pray it will lead me to a wider, longer, higher, and deeper appreciation of it.