“I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, 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: 16-19
American novelist Ernest Hemingway wrote a story about a father and his teenage son. In the story, the relationship had become somewhat strained, and the teenage son ran away from home. His father then began a journey in search of that rebellious son.
Finally, in Madrid, Spain, in a final desperate attempt to find his son, the father put an ad in the local newspaper. The ad read, “Dear Paco, Meet me in front of the newspaper office at noon. All is forgiven. I love you. Your Father.” The next day, in front of the newspaper office, 800 “Pacos” showed up! They were all seeking forgiveness. They all wanted to know that their father loved them. Love is a powerful thing.
Paul, in this passage in Ephesians, goes to great lengths to help us grasp how deep and wide this kind of love is. All human beings are flawed because of sin. The prophet Isaiah said that even our best attempts at goodness are as filthy rags in comparison to the holiness of God. But God loves us anyway—even to the extent of wanting to adopt us as His very own. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! That is what we are!”
So, while you and I are unlovely, we are not unloved! Deep down inside, all of us desperately want to be loved like the Pacos in Hemingway’s story. And, we are. Let’s not keep it to ourselves, for there are hundreds of people within a stone’s throw of our church who urgently need to hear how deep and wide God’s love is. Maybe we should take out an ad in our local newspaper and publicize it. Maybe 1,000 Pacos will show up this time!
Do you know how deep and wide God’s love is? Do you know this kind of love that surpasses even your own knowledge? If not, Willow Creek pastors are available to help you get rooted and established in Christ’s love. Reach out today.