Be Still & Know

Be Still & Know.jpg
Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
— Ephesians 3:17-19

‘Do you know how much I love you?’

These words arrive in my mind as I sit in the garden of the Orchard café.

Light and temperature dim and drop as the sun dips towards the horizon. There’s barely anyone around; a group of friends laughing near the café building, and me, with a Bible and a pen. 

I write the words:
Do you know how much I love you?’

A robin, round and curious, perches on a nearby chair. He looks at me, head cocked to one side and wings thrumming. His russet breast swells, a song bursts forth. 

I listen and ponder those words:
‘Do you know how much I love you?’

Do I know how much He loves me?
Do you?

Cold raindrops start to fall. They shimmer on the surface of the robin’s feathers. I stand to leave; he flies away, and I pray the words with every step of my way home.

Do I know how much God loves me?
What would happen if I did?

Surely it would change everything?

As I ask myself the question, I’m reminded of a sermon I once heard. In his sermon, the preacher recited the lyrics of a children’s song: “Jesus’ love is very wonderful…so high you can’t go over it; so low you can’t go under it; so wide you can’t go round it; oh wonderful love!”

He followed these simple words with a profound question: ‘Do you try to go around God’s love? Why not just receive it?’

What would happen if we all grasped, even just a little bit more, how much God loves us?

The height and depth and width of His love. The promise that His love is everlasting, stretching from one end of eternity to the other - so vast and yet so wonderfully intimate.

What would happen if we truly knew it?
What keeps us from knowing it?

You can’t go over God’s love.

Instead of searching for new, more exciting heights of experience and happiness outside of Him, we must remind ourselves that God’s love is from God, Creator of the heavens and the earth - there is no higher peak than the summit of His love.

Sometimes the idea of it can feel overfamiliar; we forget the utter beauty, magnitude and wonder of His love. We neglect time with Him in favour of reaching for the unseen mountaintops of new experiences that are independent of Him - shrouded in fog, alluringly mysterious, ostensibly full of promise, inevitably illusory.

We must abandon our exhausting climb to nowhere and instead rest in the knowledge of God’s love for us;

Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
— Ephesians 3:19

You can’t go under God’s love.

Instead of busying ourselves out of spending time with God, we must pause, be still and listen for His voice.

It’s easy to feel so daunted by the prospect of encountering Him and His immeasurable love that we spend all of the moments that make up our days on other things. We avoid approaching Him because the idea of working ourselves up to the place where we are prepared to receive His love is too awesome, overwhelming, taxing - we can be afraid, almost, of being crushed under the weight of it.

But we forget that if we would just pause and listen, He is so gentle, kind and patient in tenderly meeting us as we are, wherever we are, in His life-giving grace;

Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.
— Ephesians 3:17

You can’t go around God’s love.

Instead of treating God’s love like a visa to apply for, we must learn to see it as a gift to be received.

Sometimes we put pressure on ourselves to earn God’s love - perhaps by reading more of the Bible, praying more, or doing more ‘for God’. We try to circumnavigate His love with our own answers and effort. But all He asks is that we trust in Him;

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts.
— Ephesians 3:17

Truly knowing that the God of the universe loves us with an everlasting love will change everything about us, and the only way to know it is simply and profoundly to receive it. We cannot go over, under or around it; it is a gift, as sweet and free as that robin’s song in the Orchard.

So, as I walk home I thank God for the robin, and for this starting point He’s given me. I only need to receive. To make space and be open - open to hearing the searching wonder of God’s voice.

‘Do you know how much I love you?’ 

The cold rain slows to a stop; sunset light clarifies and deepens the meadows and river around me. I receive, and I begin to know.

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