Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church and one we can pray for ourselves and our own churches is “..that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height–to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 17–19 NKJV
The word grasp in Greek is “katalambano.” It means to seize, possess, or apprehend*.
As I attempted to do that, meditating on each of these dimensions as they describe God’s love—wide, long, high, and deep—other illuminating scriptures sprang to mind.
How wide is God’s love? As far as the East is from the West.
“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 NKJV
How long is God’s love? Eternal.
“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 created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38- 39 NKJV
How high is God’s love? To the Heavens.
“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.” Ps. 103:11 NASB
How deep is God’s love? Even to Sheol.
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” Even the night shall be light about me; Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You…” Psalm 139:7–12a
I’m convinced that if we (if I) could truly grasp (seize, possess, apprehend) this truth, it would set us (me) free— free from worry and fear and condemnation (self or otherwise), free to be courageous in what we pray and what we attempt with God, and free to love others, including even our enemies.
The rooting and grounding Paul refers to in the Ephesians passage calls to mind another Scripture:
“For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:8 NKJV
Being rooted and grounded in God, who is Love, the Source of our soul’s nourishment, yields freedom from fear and anxiety, as well as the kind of fruitfulness that matters, that lasts for eternity.