Grasp the ungraspable. Know the unknowable. Measure the unmeasurable. These are the challenging paradoxes of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:14-19:
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 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, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
When I think of God’s love, I imagine the seemingly infinite universe. Using the fastest propulsion system available today, it would take 76,000 years to reach the closest star outside of our solar system, a star that’s a “mere” 4.25 light years away! Consider the universe’s billions of light years, and you begin to comprehend (and not comprehend) what Paul is talking about! We can know that the universe is thisbig, and that it takes that long for light to get here or there. But our minds cannot truly “know” anything of this scale, just like we can’t know about a love that surpasses knowledge.
Yet Paul prays that we would grasp this love, and that we would know it. Assuming that he’s not just mocking us, we can see first how it is human knowledge being surpassed, and that—because nothing is beyond God’s knowledge—it must be His knowledge that we need. The paradox will never be resolved, but we can live as if it’s true…because it is! Isn’t that what faith is all about?
What do you think our lives would look like if we grasped the ungraspable?
- We would possess an unshakable resolve that God loves us.
- We would experience unassailable peace, deep calm, and increased trust in God.
- We would not fear man or harbor anxiety about the unknown.
- We would better understand ourselves, and not doubt who we were created by God to be.
- We would grow in our love, understanding, and patience for others—no matter who they are.
- We would find deeper fulfillment in our relationship with God.
Wait a minute. So have we just traded a list of paradoxes for a list of impossibles? It sure seems that way, but with the assistance of the Spirit of God—and buoyed by the prayers of the saints and the Word of God—we can begin to grasp the ungraspable and know the unknowable! Sure, we’ll have plenty of do-what-I-don’t-want-to-do and don’t-do-what-I-want-to-do moments, and we will at times, like Peter, sink when we step out of the boat. But, again, like Peter, we can listen for the voice of our Savior who says to us, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”