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)
The world is a big, diverse, and wonderful place. If we spent our whole life traveling, we’d never be able to see all the corners of its cities, forests, caves, deserts, mountains, and coasts. Some of my most vivid memories from my childhood are our family vacations to new places. There was something uniquely special and fascinating about the unfamiliar. Every time, big walls were being torn down in my little mind.
We adventured through Disney World and sweat under the heat in Orlando. We enjoyed the milder climate and climbed the dunes along the Outer Banks in North Carolina. One year, we flew out to San Francisco and drove the stunning coast of California. Then there was the much longer trip down to Rio do Janeiro, Brazil. Later, I found myself in Hyderabad, India, and Dubai of the United Arab Emirates, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. With every new place, the world changed as it passed through my eyes. All the unique sites and interesting histories and distinct cultures made the whole picture bigger and more beautiful than my little heart and mind had ever imagined.
A Love that Surpasses Knowledge
Christ’s love for you — displayed most clearly and powerfully in his death for you on the cross — is big, complex, and beautiful like that. Without a question, there are aspects of it that you haven’t experienced yet, and some you likely won’t until you need them. Paul says that this love is beyond knowing. It “surpasses knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19).
Because God is infinite — and therefore everything about him is infinite — and because we are finite (even into eternity), we’ll never know and feel everything there is to know and feel about his love for us. There will always be more of him to see, more to receive, and more to enjoy. His love is vast beyond all measure — high, deep, wide, and long. It’s unending and worth seeking out in every direction. It should never stop leaving us speechless and in awe.
The Greatest Mystery of All
A massive piece of what makes God’s love for us so mysterious is simply that he would love us at all. We all share in the horrific confession, “It was my sin that held him there until it was accomplished.” My sin cost my Savior his life. He bled from his head, his hands, his feet because I refused to honor him as Lord, because I chose anything and everything over him, because I had become the center and purpose of my own life. He died for me because of me.
“Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer.” What could we say that would begin to make sense of Jesus’s sacrifice for us? What about us would seem precious enough to pierce God himself and torture him to death? How could we possibly receive everlasting life and happiness from the God we offended with our sin? We are utterly undeserving, so we’ll never explain the cross by bringing attention to ourselves. We’ll understand it only as we see more and more that it was entirely and in every way a result of God’s unsearchable love for sinners.
A Prayer from the Loved
Christ, your love cannot be known. It’s that great! Increase our love for you. Where would we be without your love? What can give us life — lasting life — like your love? What can redeem us from our sin, like your love? What can give us joy in difficult days, like your love? What allows us to boast in our weaknesses, like your life? What saves us and causes us to sing, like your love? Nothing.
Make our love for you higher, rising above, far above, our love for anyone or anything else. Make our love for you deeper, penetrating further into our hearts and souls, and strengthening our spiritual backbone against Satan and all of his lies. Make our love for you wider, extending into every area of our life and spreading to all that hear our testimony and witness our works.
By the power of your great love, revealed at the cross, make us better lovers — lovers of you, lovers of one another, lovers of the gospel, lovers of the lost — all that the mystery of your love might be known more by more. For we pray in the name of our first Love, our Savior, Jesus, Amen.