A word to the wise: do not prank call my parents today to ask if their refrigerator is running.
That is, of course, unless you’d like to trigger their post-traumatic stress involving a certain recent refrigerator leak… turned flood… turned home renovation. It was a rough time, you guys.
In all seriousness, this Whirlpool really lived up to its name, creating a lagoon of lettuce water beneath the wooden floorboards, which curled up like soggy noodles. After clearing out all of the furniture and listening for weeks to the hum of many vacuums, my parents were relieved to make it to the simplest part of the process: choosing a replacement refrigerator. They ordered the model closest in appearance to its predecessor, measuring the length and width of the cabinet opening, checking and rechecking its size.
If you know anything about my dad, it’s that his yellow measuring tape is a force to be reckoned with. It’s always precise, down to the milli-est of meters. So it was with utmost confidence that my parents declared the dimensions of the new fridge’s home.
But when the delivery man placed the refrigerator in its compartment, there was a slight problem. Now, if you’re afraid I’m going to tell you the precious, yellow measuring tape was wrong, do not fear! Oh, it was correct. The length and width of the new Whirlpool slid snugly into the pocket where the former fridge once stood, but… it stuck out about 6 inches too far. While the length and width had been calculated to the exact millimeter, no one had considered the depth.
Each time my parents step foot in the kitchen, they are stonewalled by the refrigerator’s annoying edge, an ever-present reminder of their miscalculation.
When I read Paul’s words in Ephesians 3, I imagine they are the kind he’d like us to place in a conspicuous spot in our homes, maybe with magnets on the refrigerator:
“I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love…”
- Ephesians 3:17-18
We can guess that Paul, being the energetic guy we all know and love, didn’t intend these words to be admired only during our late-night cookie-dough raids. No, I think he was calling us out on our own miscalculations about God’s love.
If we, as Christ’s followers, understand and proclaim one thing about God, shouldn’t it be His love?
Since love is the currency and cornerstone of our faith, and others will know we are Christians by that love (John 13:35), we’d like to think we have that part all figured out. But what if we don’t? Are we doing love wrong?
Paul gives us this assurance: God’s love cannot be constrained by our own lack of understanding. God guarantees that His love will always obnoxiously stick out further than we think, bumping into our warm, fuzzy expectations with a reminder of Himself.
Its length embraces us in a wingspan of Alpha to Omega.
Its width includes us in the family tree of all believers.
Its depth reaches us buried beneath the wages of sin.
Its height draws us to eternal heavenly glory.
Love establishes and anchors us in the gospel. It is longer, wider, deeper and higher than any dimensions we can muster. We can spend our days settling for a comfortable, comprehendible love, or we can seek to be stretched by the true fullness of His love.
Today, may we make a space for Him to surprise us without limitation, so that we may see the true length, width, depth and height of the Father’s love. Amen.