Candle in the Wind?
Read your Bible: Ephesians 3:14–19
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…Ephesians 3:17b–18
Arthur Miller, the famous playwright, wrote about what it was like being married to Marilyn Monroe. During the filming of her last movie, The Misfits, he watched her sink into an abyss of depression. One night she convinced a doctor to give her yet another tranquilizer injection.
Miller stood watching his wife as she slept:
I found myself imagining… what if she were to wake and I were able to look at her in the eyes and say, “God loves you, darling!” and what if she were able to believe it! How I wish I still had my religion and she hers.45
Paul prays something like Miller’s unsaid prayer for Marilyn in today’s verses:
I pray that you… 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…
Paul uses a great phrase to express that: The width, length, height, and depth of God’s love! Here’s one way to meditate on that:
The width of that love?
It takes in all your sin, all your failures, all your mistakes and regrets. All your weaknesses, all your loneliness, all your insecurities. It’s wide enough to draw a circle around all of that.
His love lasts forever. He has loved you from before the creation of the world. And nothing you could ever do could get God to stop loving you.
Now think of the heights from which He came.
Our earth is just a little speck of dust in the universe: If you could travel at the speed of light, you’d shoot past the moon in a second and a half. It would take you four years to get to the nearest star. Ten thousand years to get out of our galaxy. Two million years to reach the next closest galaxy, Andromeda. And how many galaxies are there? Billions. And the Bible says our God is enthroned far above the universe.
Now think of the depths to which He came to show His love.
That same God came from those heights to become… a fetus. If you’d had the technology back then, you could have taken an ultra-sound of Him. And that baby became a man who absorbed the sins of the world on the cross. And He went deeper still. He went to the depths of hell… for you. Because He loves you.
He loves you.
Can I play the role for you that Arthur Miller wished he could have played for Marilyn? If you were here with me now, I would look you in the eye and tell you:
God loves you.
You are passionately loved by the powerful God!
Maybe your whole life you’ve felt like an outsider. You’ve been abandoned. You’ve been burned. You’ve wanted love. And even when you received love it wasn’t satisfying.
God loves you more than you have ever loved anything or anyone. It’s His love you’ve been looking for all your life.
Believe that… and it changes everything.
Loved and Secure
Yesterday I visited a man from our church in the local Veteran’s Administration Hospital. He fought in Viet Nam, but now he’s fighting for his life. He has an aggressive cancer that has already robbed him of his ability to swallow and to speak. To communicate, he writes his thoughts down on a tablet of paper.
At the end of our visit I prayed for Him. I prayed for a cure, for a miracle — and that he would sense God’s presence through this valley of the shadow of death so that he would not be afraid.
After I said, “Amen,” he grabbed his pen and paper and vigorously wrote in large letters, “I AM NOT AFRAID! PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT ALL FEAR!”
I looked into his eyes and saw his smile and I knew it was true.
He wrote some more: “We all have to go sometime. I am at perfect peace because I trust God implicitly.”
He was rooted. He was established. In the love of God.
That man was no trembling candle in the wind. He has confidence in God, who makes him an eternal flame.
We’ve focused so far on the mighty attributes of God a lot in this study — His omnipotence, majesty, holiness… But remember, as infinitely powerful as God is, He is just as infinitely loving.
His power is a loving power. His love is a powerful love.
God is… perfect in power and perfect in love!
Questions For Reflection
Why do you think most people struggle with really believing God loves them?
What specific difference do you think it would make if you strengthened your belief that God has steadfast, never-ending love toward you?
Ask yourself: Have I thanked God for His love to me today?
Have I shown love to someone today?