How wide, how long, how high, and how deep is the expanse of the ocean, stretching far beyond what my eyes can see, and delving deeper than my mind can comprehend. I cannot fathom the earth’s capacity for water… It resonates for me again as a picture of the human soul, the magnificent capacity with which I am created, to feel, carry, know, and experience…
I remember when I existed so small and meaningless in my own eyes. I remember when I could not comprehend much of anything beyond the tip of my own nose. My soul might have felt like a puddle as opposed to an ocean, confined and contained within my small physical being, limited by such a small awareness of all that is Life.
MANY OF US CANNOT FATHOM THE CAPACITY OF OUR SOUL.
Experiencing the loss of my husband Lynn invoked in me a deeper connection and awareness of our full capacity as human souls. I could see the space in the world that he had taken up by the void that was left when he died. And I could experience the magnitude of his impact on my own soul, as places I never knew existed cried out in agony upon his departure. I yearned and longed for things I did not know I needed. I wept and mourned for things I had not known I had…
How deep is your longing? How far do you long to go? What do you yearn to experience? How high do your dreams aspire? Do you realize how big your capacity is, for longing and experience in this life?
MY CAPACITY IS HUGE, BUT GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER!
How wide, how long, how high, and how deep are our own human souls. Yet even still, we are so small compared to the magnitude of our God who “hovers over the face of the waters” (Genesis 1:2), His majestic being filling all of the space that exists above, within, and around it… He is the Vine and the great Gardner of all Life, while I am just a branch!
HERE’S MY QUESTION: Does a human being have the capability to reflect the fullness of who God is? Amazingly, the person of Jesus Christ did just that! “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body” (Colossians 2:9). In a human body! A finite human body!
So do we, like Christ, have the potential capacity to RECEIVE, SUSTAIN, and REFLECT the fullness of who God is?
In Ephesians, Paul prays earnestly for the Church that we might “have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is” (Ephesians 3:18, ESV)! He prays that every child of God would come to “experience the love of Christ,” even though it is “too great to understand fully” (Ephesians 3:19a). Then, we “will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God” (Ephesians 3:19b)!
SUFFERING → LONGING → LOVE → CAPACITY
- When we face sorrow, struggle, and hardship, whether big or small, and notice the “stuff” of our own messy souls, then we have expanded our capacity to long for God’s love. (2 Cor 12:9-10; James 1:2-4)
- When we long for God’s love, and seek after it, we will find it. (Jer 29:13; Matt 7:7; Matt 5:4)
- When we experience more of God’s love, it stretches and expands our capacity to RECEIVE, SUSTAIN, and REFLECT the fullness of all that is God. (Eph 3:15-19)
MY SOUL IS CREATED TO RECEIVE, SUSTAIN, AND REFLECT THE FULLNESS OF GOD.
How wide, how long, how high, and how deep… I am meant to experience the fullness of God’s life and power, as it courses through my veins, and expands the ocean of my soul to embrace the ever moving flow of God’s infinite, eternal existence.
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Do you think your capacity is already full? Do you often pray for a deeper experience of God’s love? Do you wonder if it’s selfish to want more of Him? Do you think it’s selfish to want more of His life and power? …more wholeness, health, blessing, influence, or vitality in your life?
IT IS FOR THE SAKE OF HIS NAME! FOR THE SAKE OF HIS GLORY TO BE KNOWN IN THE WORLD!
Paul’s powerful prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19 is an earnest response to his stewardship of the gospel (Eph 3:2,7). He’s reflecting upon his call to bring the gospel, the great mystery of salvation in Jesus Christ, to all of the unbelievers in the known world at that time. Because of all that we have now in Christ Jesus our Lord, because we are all being built together into one building, “a dwelling place for God by the Spirit” (Eph 2:22), and because it is through the church that “the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known…” (Eph 3:10)…
It is because of all this that, “I [Paul] fall to my knees and pray…” (Ephesians 14-15).
IT MATTERS THAT GOD IS MADE KNOWN TO THE WORLD – and it happens through us!
Learning to live in Christ involves a growing, expanding, deepening, widening, lengthening, heightening… experience of His love!
This experience of His love (in and through suffering) leads to a growing awareness of both His presence in, around, and among us, and also a growing awareness of our own capacity for MORE of Him.
The soul that is connected to God in Christ is always being stretched and expanded to RECEIVE, SUSTAIN, and REFLECT the fullness of who God is.
What is happening in your world right now? Where are you frustrated? How are you being stretched or challenged?
Lean into those places and ASK HIM FOR MORE! Embrace hardship as a way to expand your soul, which will expand your experience with God’s love, leading you to a greater capacity to sustain His presence in your life, and the measure to which you reveal His glory [goodness] to others.
CHURCH, WE NEED A BIGGER CAPACITY.
Church, we need to experience MORE of the love of God! And discover a bigger capacity to embrace MORE of Him, that he might be MORE present in our lives, MORE influential in our homes, MORE known to our loved ones, and MORE glorified in our world.
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, NLT)