Grasping God’s Love

people riding red and white roller coaster during daytime
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  Ephesians 3:17-19

Do you remember the first time you were on a roller coaster?  Step one is to get a firm intellectual grip on whatever laws of physics explain how you and the vehicle you’re sitting in will arrive at the end of the ride at approximately the same time.  Step two is get a firm physical grip on the bar in front of you, so that it would take the jaws of life to pry you out of that vehicle until the ride is over.  If this is a date, step three is to get a firm romantic grip on the hand of the person sitting next to you.  That’s an illustration of the apostle’s prayer that you will have the power to grasp God’s love.

Grasp God’s love with your head.  You want a good grip on God’s grace because the virus of doubt with which Satan infected human nature insists that you hang onto some sense of SELF-worth, as though you can earn God’s love and that his blessings depend on your performance.  Grace will find you when guilt or shame leave you hiding from God.  You want a good grip on God’s promises, promises like he’ll be with you always, that he’ll work everything out for your good, that he’ll strengthen you to face trials and provide an escape hatch if necessary.  Without a good grip on God’s love and promises, you’ll be just grasping at straws when your heart aches and your head is pounding and you don’t have a clue.

St. Paul prayed that you would grasp God’s love with your heart. . . in his words, “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”  Grasp that God’s love is so wide that you can’t have a problem larger than his love or a sin too big for his love.  Grasp that God’s love is so long that you can’t run out of it or fall out of it.  Grasp that God’s love is so high that heaven is necessary for you to experience all of it, so deep that when you’re falling into despair or depression, God’s love is still the safety net beneath you.

The apostle added “together with all the saints” because this love of God is also a group thing.  It’s easier hanging onto God’s love when there are other Christians around you doing the same thing.  Sometimes we may have to hang onto another Christian who is hanging onto God’s love, because we’ve momentarily lost our own grip on that love.  If First Immanuel Lutheran has been what God intends it to be, you understand the importance of Christian friends when life is hard and love is hard to come by, when we’re just hanging on.

Look at your hands, strong Christian hands that grasp the hand of God by faith and grasp the hands of brothers and sisters in faith.  Those aren’t groping hands, desperately searching for something to hang onto.  Those aren’t clenched hands of frustration or rage.  Those aren’t rigid hands, warding off people who want to get close to you or turning down opportunities to serve that might be intimidating.  God made your hands to grasp with love.

PRAYER: Help me to hang onto your love in Jesus, Father, no matter how hard life gets and no matter how great my fears.  Hang onto me when I let go of you, for Jesus’ sake.  Amen.

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