The Dead Sea is an incredibly unique body of water. Water flows in from the Jordan River, but it never flows out. Signs around the water’s edge remind swimmers to seek help if water is swallowed or splashed in the eyes. The brackish water leaves a pungent smell on clothes and shoes. “No fishing” signs are unnecessary in this area. Nothing thrives in that much salt, thus the moniker of the “Dead Sea.”
In contrast, the waters in the Sea of Galilee brim with life. Birds flew around our boat, and fish leapt from the waves surrounding us. The salty air smelled refreshing, and many villages surrounding the water attested to the life that thrived here. The Jordan flows into the Sea of Galilee, but unlike the Dead Sea, it flows back out into the Jordan. Jesus spent many hours teaching around its banks. He loved a good picture to drive his teaching home.
John laid out the immensity of God’s love pictured in His very actions. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:9-10
God reminds us that nothing could possibly separate us from His love in Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 conveys his passion for God’s people to understand the depth, height, length, and breadth of God’s limitless love. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Ephesians 3:16-19
These verses barely skim the surface of this subject. Meditating on His love, or as Paul put it, knowing the love of Christ, fills us with the fullness of His love. The picture that springs to my mind of God’s love is always an ocean, especially to this Kansas girl. The first time I laid eyes on the shores of the Pacific, the vastness and power of the water rolling as far as the eye could see was both terrifying and beautiful at the same time. In the middle of the deepest part of that ocean, if we were to dive in, there would be no escaping the amount of water all around us. And we who have called on His name are constrained by His love, just as if it were the depths of the mighty, rolling sea; perfectly held within the palm of His hand, forgiven, accepted, holy and without blame before Him in love. (Explore Ephesians 1.). These are just a few of the effects of His amazing love He lavishes on us without measure. How perfectly then the Sea of Galilee could picture the life of a child of God, thriving with life and God’s love splashing out of its fulness.
But there have been times when my banks have ceased splashing or thriving. All of God’s love was fully available and pouring into my life, but silt and boulders and gravel blocked the outflow. It wasn’t pretty, and it certainly didn’t smell any better.
Have you been there, my friend? Has sorrow and disappointment ever silted up the river beds of your heart? Have pain and suffering left rocks blocking the channels where joy once flowed freely? Has confusion at the circumstances left you lost amidst the dry creek beds? The sin and troubles of this life constantly tempt us into thinking that the outpouring of love from a faithful, constant Father may have been diverted outside of our banks.
These words of Amy Carmichael, a single missionary to India in the early 1900’s, will hopefully encourage your heart as they did mine.
Let us end on a very simple note: our Lord speaks simply: “Trust me, My child,” He says. “Trust me with a humbler heart and a fuller abandon to My will than ever thou didn’t before. Trust me to pour My love through thee, as minute succeeds minute. And if thou shouldst be conscious of anything hindering the flow, do not hurt My love by going away from Me in discouragement, for nothing can hurt love so much as that. Draw all the closer to Me; come, flee unto Me to hide thee, even from thyself. Tell me about the trouble. Trust Me to turn My hand upon thee and thoroughly to remove the boulder that has choked thy riverbed, and take away all the sand that has silted up the channel. I will not leave thee until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. I will perfect that which concerneth thee. Fear thou not, O child of My love; fear not.”
His love meets us where we are, walks with us, leads us, guides us, completes us. Find in Him the provision for it all, and let His love flow once again through you to comfort those who will one day walk where you’ve been. It’s a sweet journey when we walk with our hand in His. ❤️