As I enter the eternal pursuit of Love, I am entering an ocean, and just like the mysteries of the oceans of the earth are unfathomable, discovering this Love too, surpasses knowledge. It is a love that is too great to understand fully (Ephesians 3:19, NIV). It is a love that cannot be entirely known. It cannot be described in words, nor experienced to its depths.
I sat beside the ocean today on New Zealand’s wild west coast. I was at the end of a manmade breakwater. On what was a relatively calm day, the ocean is obviously always fierce here. As the waves hit the rocks, the seaspray flew high into the air, then spilled back down in many waterfalls fighting their way back into the sea before the next wave hit. It was wild, untamed, powerful, awesome, frightening. The waves rolled in one after the other, after the other, never taking a break. I sat behind the safety of the barriers, put in place to provide protection from this force of nature. The barriers made me feel safe from something otherwise dangerous and unpredictible. The only thing predictable here was that it was constant, and it was powerful, and it was wet! On either side of this breakwater were sandy beaches. Here too, the waves rolled in, broke against the shore and then made their way out again in a much more calm manner than those that hit the rocks.
Feelings of awe and insignificance overwhelm me as I stand before an ocean. On calm, sunny days I find it refreshing, inviting, and playful. On stormy days, it is often frightening and awe-inspiring, demanding respect, and I willingly give it, as I did at the breakwater today. Either way, it is soul-enticing. I am drawn to the ocean.
God’s love is an ocean. I am standing at the very edge, dipping my toes in, barely knee deep. I am on the shore, wanting, but fearful. God entices me to walk further and further in, until I am in over my head – beyond what I deem is safe, away from all I have known and experienced, leaving behind the barriers, outside of words and experiences that I can describe – and to get wet.
It seems, that God’s love is refreshing and satisfying, soul-enticing, yet frightening, like the ocean is – but only because I yet don’t understand. Still, the more I discover and understand, the less frightened, the more safe I feel, and the more willing I am to take another step deeper…
As I move further in, beyond the shore, I am in the ocean. Though I am just at the edges and the expanse of it is so great, I am in the ocean. No matter how far I venture in, I get wet.
In this ocean I come to understand a predictability – this love is constant, wave after wave after wave of God’s love hits my life. Its constancy makes it dependable and faithful, not unlike the earth’s ocean, that constantly rolls in.
It is powerful – redeeminlgly powerful. It can heal and restore, return and renew.
And it is wet. I cannot enter the ocean without becoming wet, and enveloped by it’s waters.
And yet in this ocean, Love, as I move away from the shore and into deeper water, it feels risky to my heart. Love of the world’s kind is responsible for that. The way it has broken me through its unfaithfulness, selfishness, and abuse. And though the unknown always potentially carries with it an element of fear, the love of this One says, “There is no fear in love…perfect love [God’s Love] drives away all fear” (1John 4:18, NIV). Enticingly, I hear –
“…come on in, the water’s fine”, as the saying goes.
What I experienced today, can often feel like my life – Oh, how I often feel like I am in an unpredictable, powerful sea, drowning – I struggle to come up for air, its power is overwhelming, and often frighteningly out of control. But if it is that my life is lived in the ocean of God’s love, then if I am sinking and drowning, I am still in His love.
I recently had another experience of the ocean. The day was hot! We were in the middle of a wonderful heat wave. Wonderful to me, because I love the hot weather. We had left our home to do some sightseeing, showing friends part of the coast that we love. The water was enticing. We swam that day – waded, frolicked and enjoyed the water. The ocean had a playful quality to it this day. Life too, is sometimes like this. There is an absence of hard times and life is enjoyed.
The point is, whether I sink or whether I swim, I am in this ocean, this love. Embraced. Surrounded. Saturated. Wet! Life often throws hard things at me, perhaps more often than the frolicking days, but because I am in the ocean, inside of Love, whatever happens, I am in it. Wet! As I cannot be fully in the ocean without being drenched by it, so I cannot be in this world, and not be embraced in Love.
And so –
(In Over My Head, Jenn Johnson, Bethel Music) “Further and further my heart moves away from the shore, whatever it looks like, whatever may come I am…”
…in the ocean. I am inside of love. God’s love. Love that is perfect for me. Love that is constant, faithful, dependable, unfailing. Love that is powerful. Love that all embraces. Love that is for me.
If I were to get this, how different would my life be lived? Lived in Love…thoughts that surpass knowledge, too great to understand fully…
Continued in next week’s blog…