Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
8:18

Expanse

Expanse

I love an empty horizon.

In fact, it’s what I’m always after in nature.  On this increasingly crowded planet, it’s not an easy thing to find.  It’s not that I need alone time.  I have plenty of that from day to day.  It’s that I crave bigness.  And it’s hard to appreciate immensity when there’s a crowd of people in my way.

It’s odd that we yearn to have nature remind us that we’re small and insignificant.  But we do.  There’s something in us that hungers for enormity – for that feeling that before us is something that extends beyond the reach of our imagination.  As David puts it, “It’s too lofty for me to attain.” (Ps. 139:6)

I see in Scripture this same willingness to be dwarfed by the greatness of God’s love.  In their endeavors to explain it, the writers turn to images of vastness – bigger than the biggest thing you can picture.  Here are a few that come to my mind: 

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.  (Ps. 139:9-10)

            as far as the east is from the west,
                so far does he remove our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)

When contemplating the risen Christ, Paul stretches us in the same way.  Only here, he does it in two directions – both high and wide.  Exalted and eternal.

(God) seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.  Eph. 1: 20-21

Two chapters later, Paul’s at it again, but now, in describing the love of Jesus, he’s adding two more dimensions:

(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, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.  (Eph. 3: 18-19)

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The human mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”  This is what the love of Christ does.  It’s too big, too deep and high and long and wide to take it all in.  We can no more imagine such love in its fullness than we can calculate the gallons of water in the sea while standing on its shore.

But how good it is to have such an immensity stretch our tiny minds.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to
Thy glorious rest above

Reader:  Tell me about a time that something in nature exceeded your imagination.

Email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. And if you liked this, please use the buttons above to share it.

Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.

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