Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

“If we have deep-seated fears that God does not really love us (as many Christians have), we can only go so far in growing nearer to God. There will come a point at which we will fear to trust Him any further because we cannot be sure of His love. When we look at ourselves, or our own faith, or our circumstances we will never be free from those lurking fears. Satan will see to that. But when we lift up our eyes and look on the cross we find the final persuasion that God is gracious towards us. How can He be against us when all His wrath against us fell upon Christ? How can He fail to care for us when He gave the only Son He had for our sake? How can we doubt Him when He has given us evidence of His love sufficient to banish all doubts?”
~Sinclair Ferguson~

His name was Samuel Trevor Francis. He was born on November 19, 1834 in a village north of London. As a boy, Samuel had a knack for writing poetry, and he loved singing in his church choir. But during his teenage years, he went through a period of spiritual darkness and his soul was disquieted within him. One evening, on his way home from work in London, he found himself walking across the Hungerford Bridge south of the Thames. He later wrote, “During the winter’s night of wind and rain and in the loneliness of that walk, I cried to God to have mercy on me. I stayed for a moment to look at the dark waters flowing under the bridge, and the temptation was whispered to me, ‘Make an end of all this misery.’ I drew back from the evil thought, and suddenly a message was borne into my very soul, ‘You do believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?’ I at once answered, ‘I do believe,’ and I put my whole trust in Him as my Savior.”[1]

Francis would later become a preacher and hymn-writer, penning the words to the well-loved hymn “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus.” The lyrics give rise within our hearts to a love too deep for comprehension, and help us to grasp a small strand of “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” (Eph. 3:18b-19a). Francis writes:

O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me,
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above!

This deep, deep love of Jesus is so vast that it “surpasses knowledge,” as Paul describes in Ephesians. It is a love that is undeserved, unearned, and unconditional. It is a love so boundless that the Father willingly crucified His Son, pouring out the wrath that you and I justly deserve on a perfect, sinless sacrifice. “Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends” (Jn. 15:13).

Only this God who loves you unconditionally knows where you are at today. Maybe you are in a place where you are basking in His love, and the radiance of His presence emanates from your life. Or maybe you are in a place where your love has grown cold, and you think that God must feel just as apathetic towards you as you feel towards Him. Or perhaps you are longing and crying out to hear the love of Jesus whispered into your soul, because in this moment, you feel very unloved. Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, the truth is this: God will never love you any more or any less than He does in this moment! If you have a relationship with Jesus Christ by grace through faith, then His love surrounds you and is within you through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. If you have yet to experience this vast, unmeasured, boundless, and free love, will you open your heart to Him today? The current of His love is waiting to overwhelm you no matter your circumstance!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus!
Spread His praise from shore to shore,
How His love is never-ending,
And it changes nevermore;
How He watches o’er His loved ones,
Died to call them all His own;
How for them He’s interceding,
Watching o’er them from the throne.

[1] Qtd in Morgan, Robert J. Then Sings My Soul. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2003. p. 197.