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Friday, 21 April 2017

Deeper than that!

Fridtjof Nansen was a Norwegian explorer who tried to measure the depth of part of the Arctic Ocean. On the first day he used his longest measuring line - but was unable to reach the bottom. Having recorded the length of his line in his log-book, he wrote: "The ocean is deeper than that."

On the following day, he added more line, but was still unable to measure the depth so, once again, the log-book entry read: "Deeper than that!" After several days of adding more and more lengths of rope and cord to his line, he had to leave that part of the ocean without having learned its actual depth. All that he knew was that it was beyond his ability to measure.

Here, in S.W.France, I have the privilege of, among other things, ministering the Word of God to a group of anglophones. We are currently nearing the end of our study of the First Letter of John - a letter that covers a number of important areas, none less so than the love of God and the fact that "God is Love" (I John 4:8,16).

Nansen's experience reminds me that we cannot plumb the depths of the love of the God Whose very essence is Love, because our human measuring line is too short. The Russian folk-song, come hymn, reminds us:

"Vaster far than any ocean,
Deeper than the deepest sea,
Is the love of Christ my Saviour,
Reaching through eternity."

John, in his record of the Gospel, provides what is probably the best-known verse from the New Testament scriptures: "God loved the world so much that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever places their trust, unreservedly, in Him may not perish, but have eternal life." (my paraphrase!). 

Paul. writing to the early disciples of Jesus in Ephesus, reminded them that: "...  God, Who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and made us sit with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, ..." (2:4-6; emphasis added).

In the light of such incredible love, ought not our gratitude cause us to serve, and praise, Him more zealously during the years that we are granted on this earth? Grace Reese Adkins wrote the lovely old hymn: "By and by, when I look on His face", with these words in the chorus:

"More, so much more;
more of my life than I'd e'er given before.
By and by, when I look on His face,
I'll wish I had given Him more."

As we try to comprehend God's love, we may well exclaim: "It's deeper, much deeper than that.", and determine, by His grace, that we shall give Him more.

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