As I considered the depth of God’s love for us, this song came to mind…
What Wondrous Love Is This
By: American Folk Hymn
What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!
When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.
To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.
“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33)
God’s love is so deep that when I was sinking down, Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.
How’s that for deep?
But sometimes head knowledge of the depth of God’s love is not enough for my heart and soul to respond accordingly. Experiencing the depth of God’s love in real life sinking pits forces me to really to grasp the roots that extend out to me. In the pit, I can’t be passive. In the pit, I must cooperate with those roots reaching out to me. I must reach out for them in the dark, dig into the earth, pull them out of the ground with dirt under my nails, hang onto them for dear life, and, hoist myself up.
In case I sound like I’m advocating a reliance on self, I assure you I’m not.
It’s a cooperative faith, not a passive one I’m talking about.
As I dig for roots, hold on, and hoist, I’m all the while trusting that it’s the roots of truth (God Himself) that are saving me.
Do not believe the lie that if you were really a Christian, you wouldn’t find yourself in a pit at all. Pits are where Satan loves to do his work on those who are a threat. He would love nothing more than for your light to be darkened in a deep dark place instead of the highest hill. A follower of Christ may find herself in a dark dungeon of temptation, persecution, scary or painful life circumstances, or even just plain stinking thinking. Whether it’s a pit that you were thrust into or self-propelled into…or a mixture of those two things, remember this…
Satan may have thought he had gotten rid of the light for good as they nailed down Jesus’ hands and feet, but he was wrong wasn’t he?
And he is wrong to think that he can hide your light.
Because it’s in the dark pits of life that you shine the brightest when you choose to dig and rise. When you decide to turn from Wasteland to Graceland. When you choose Jesus, His grace, and His kingdom.
Even David, a man after God’s heart, wrote of being in the depths.
“For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.” (Psalm 86:13 ESV)
What if those who are sinking could remember this one thing as they go…
That there is a blessing at the bottom?
“…or that in this deep wherinto they are descending, there lieth a deliverying mercy couching to catch them, and to save them from sinking forever, this would be relief unto them, and help them to hope for good.” (John Bunyan, All Loves Excelling).
It’s VBS week for me at our church. I’m teaching the beginners class. There will be crafts including an art project with dyed salt and lots of glue! I’m not sinking down…yet! But I will be ending this post as my mind is on the little souls heading my way this week. Here is one last long Bunyan quote I’ll leave you with for the week. It’s a quote based on this scripture that quotes Moses:
“And of Joseph Moses said, Blessed by the Lord be his land, with the choicest gifts of heaven above, and of the deep that crouches beneath…” (Deuteronomy 33:13 ESV).
“I am not of belief that these blessings are confined to things temporal or carnal, but to things spiritual and divine; and that they have most chiefly respect to soul, and eternal good. Now mark, he tells us here, that the blessings of the deep, do couch beneath. Couch, that is, lie close, so as hardly to be discerned by him that willingly would see that himself is not below these arms that are beneath him. But that as I said, is hard to be discerned by him that thus is sinking, and that has as he now smartingly feels, all God’s waves, and his billows rolling over him. However, whether he sees or not, for this blessing lieth couched; yet there it is, and there will be, though one should sink as deep as hell; And hence they are said to be ‘everlasting arms’ that are ‘underneath’ (Deuteronomy 33:27). That is, arms that are long and strong and that can reach to the bottom, and also beyond, of all misery and distress, that Christians are subject to in this life.” (John Bunyan)
“The eternal God is your dwelling place,
and underneath are the everlasting arms.
And he thrust out the enemy before you
and said, ‘Destroy.’” (Deuteronomy 33:27)
Will you join me over the next few weeks as we explore and grasp more fully God’s love? I agree with Bunyan that it is our privilege and duty to do so. My goal is to be prepared to face the trials and temptations of this life well. Perhaps we might even flourish under them as John Bunyan did.
Next week I’ll end with the height of God’s love!
Would you like your own copy of All Loves Excelling?
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The best way to understand God’s infinite love is through the study of His Word. My friend, Arabah Joy, has a great study on HOW to do that.Do you want to be more passionate about studying God’s Word or making time to study it? Click here!
Linking up this week with these encouraging blogs: