Deep Love, Multiplied

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be multiplied to you.” Jude 1-2

The wind was diagonal this morning, making herringbone the surface of the pale blue-green water. A pair of dolphins swam directly toward and then beneath me, perfectly side by side, parallel to the beach, oblivious to the angle of the current above. Digging hard, I pushed against the air to the rhythm of its lapping the liquid through which I moved, acutely aware of the natural forces around me. Deep underneath, it is calm, the place to go for refuge, the place for exploring at leisure, the place to be held.

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The vastness of the ocean, with the wideness of its limits, the power of its currents, and the calm in its depths, illustrates, in some measure, the love of God. Wondrous in its weight to uphold me through every storm, wild at times and difficult to understand, its surging is always toward the shore, its fullness always offers calm in the hidden space. Though gales of doubt and self-consciousness blow, and tempests of emotion or irritation buffet, and tides of grief, responsibility, inadequacy, weakness may crash and overwhelm, deep in the water there is a refuge of peace, and God always leads toward His good. Jesus bids me deep with Him, to rest, to swim in freedom from fear, to know Him in ways I cannot while choking in the froth of worldly din.

Where am I wont to feel inundated, overpowered, overcome? Am I bobbing distressed in rough waves, trying to keep my head above water but gulping incessant input, noise, demands, too much busy busy? When will I face and recognize the coming fierce tide of earthly stress and dive down deep before it hits, finding calm in the certainty of God’s love and Jesus’s keeping? Poet Priscilla Leonard once wrote, “On the far reef the breakers recoil in shattered foam, while still the sea behind them urges its forces home. Its song of triumph surges o’er all the thunderous din; the wave may break in failure, but the tide is sure to win.” (John 16:33)

“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!                                                                                                                 O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean vast of blessing, tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!” ~Samuel Trevor Francis (1834-1925)

My Lord, to be beloved by You and kept for You leaves me lost in wonder, love, and praise. You have multiplied mercy, peace, and love to me; may I so multiply these to others that they, too, might know Your calling, and love, and keeping.

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