I pray that you . . . [will] grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Ephesians 3:17–18
I lay still on the vinyl-covered mat and held my breath on command as the machine whirred and clicked. I knew lots of folks had endured MRIs, but for claustrophobic me, the experience required focused concentration on something—Someone—much bigger than myself.
In my mind, a phrase from Scripture—“how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18)—moved in rhythm with the machine’s hum. In Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian church, he described four dimensions to God’s love in order to stress the unending parameters of His love and presence.
My position while lying down for the MRI provided a new image for my understanding. Wide: the six inches on either side of where my arms were tightly pinned to my body within the tube. Long: the distance between the cylinder’s two openings, extending out from my head and feet. High: the six inches from my nose up to the “ceiling” of the tube. Deep: the support of the tube anchored to the floor beneath me, holding me up. Four dimensions illustrating God’s presence surrounding and holding me in the MRI tube—and in every circumstance of life.
God’s love is ALL around us. Wide: He extends His arms to reach all people everywhere. Long: His love never ends. High: He lifts us up. Deep: He dips down, holding us in all situations. Nothing can separate us from Him! (Romans 8:38–39).
What situations cause you to question God’s love? How will you choose to trust Him?
Ephesians 3:16–21 is actually a prayer that flows out of the context of Ephesians 2, where Paul outlines what God has done for us. Though we were dead in our sins, God gave us new life (2:1–10) and brought Jews and Gentiles together to form His church (2:11–22). In Ephesians 3 Paul builds on that by saying, “For this reason . . .” (3:1). But then he interrupts himself to explain his own unique role in sharing the “mystery” of the church with them (vv. 2–6). All of this sets the stage for verses 16–21, as he returns to the phrase of 3:1, “For this reason . . .” (v. 14). Throughout Ephesians we see the theme of God’s lavish and unmerited grace and “glorious riches” (v. 16) extended to His people.