Ephesians 3 17bAnd I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 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.
I read a passage out of a book called Overtraining Athletes: Personal Journeys in Sport (Richardson, Andersen, Morris). It recalled the life of an Australian athlete named Jane. She was a sports phenom, first in gymnastics and then, after a broken arm, in cycling. She quickly became junior cycling champ and won an international event at the age of 17. Jane was then invited to train at the national institute.
Jane’s story sounds incredibly exciting but as you follow it you see that the theme is unfulfilled promise. She, and everyone else around her had high expectations of her because of her junior success, and she was unable to continue to fulfill those expectations. Ultimately, as you read Jane’s story, all she was looking for was love and affirmation. She did not receive it from her parents, who seemed more interested in performance, so she tried to receive it from her coaches, who once again let her down when she did not perform. She moved from coach to coach, each time yearning for that love and affirmation.
Her first two coaches disappointed her, left her feeling miserable and abandoned, and now she moved to a new environment, with hope to win the love and affection of her new coaches, the next targets of Jane’s needs and desires. When the need for love and attention is not met by disappointing parental figures, sometimes those desires get projected on to a larger and more global stage (Australia will love her; the world will love her). (Overtraining Athletes: p.145)
For an elite athlete, love is not in short supply when you are performing. Everyone is happy – parents, coaches, friends, even complete strangers. You’re “feeling the love”. But what happens when the performance is no longer there – where is the love now?
Today’s scripture is an absolutely beautiful reflection of who God is and the type of love he lavishes on his children. In this portion of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Chapter 3 verses 14-21), he describes his prayer for the Ephesians. Spend time reading this passage and meditate on it. In it you will find a God with four dimensional love (how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ). Paul’s exaggeration of the dimensions is likely intentional because God’s love for us is so radical that it “surpasses knowledge”, it surpasses our understanding.
If you are searching for, if you are yearning for love and affirmation from the world, you will be sorely disappointed because the world is fickle. Jesus Christ, however, is not fickle. His love is not dependent on your performance but rather is based on his timeless love for you. Embrace Him and experience His four dimensional, never-ending, love for you.