Musician: Philip Cherian
Hymnist: Frederick M. Lehman | Lyrics
I have trouble picking favorites.
When my husband and I were still dating, he asked me what my favorite hymn was. I rattled off a list of at least ten different titles before he stopped me, amused by my indecisiveness (a quality he was quickly learning would plague him for the rest of his life).
“The Love of God” has long been one of my favorite hymns. If Nathan asked me today what my favorite hymn was, I’d likely pick this one… probably because I now associate it with one of the best days of my life – a day full of anticipation, a day brimming with joy:
the day I became his, forever.
I remember standing in front of hundreds of loved ones, facing my groom, as the pianist began to play. The violins sweetly ushered my thoughts and as the words of this beautiful hymn fell from my lips, I was overwhelmed by love. Yes, by this amazing man’s affections for me, but even more so by my God’s extravagant love for me.
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
In that moment, I was reminded that the love Nathan and I share is just a picture of a greater Love – a love that can never be fully described, a love that reaches far beyond any other, a selfless, sacrificial, forgiving love.
This greater Love is our aspiration. It’s the kind of love Nathan and I have built our lives and marriage on, the kind of love we aim to show one another day-in and day-out.
When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
Timeless love. It’s what many of us hope for. As I sang these words, I realized that time and all its eventualities would never change or hinder God’s love for me. Years could come and go, everything could change, the world could be in total anarchy, yet God’s love would endure, timeless in the face of change and chaos.
This timeless Love is our aspiration – a love that would not be weathered by time, but strengthened because of it, one that would be boundless in supply and generously bestowed.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
Are there truer words than these?
Nathan and I could love each other with everything in us, and yet our love would always pale in comparison to God’s love for us. Our earthly love will never fill the skies or drain the ocean – it is finite because we are finite. But God, infinite by nature, loves infinitely.
His love for us is uncontainable;
it is measureless.
This measureless Love is our aspiration. We desire that the stores of our love reflect the infinite God of our love – He who is the very epitome of love itself. We desire to share this uncontainable Love we have received from God for this single reason:
Each of us is loved with
this greater, timeless, measureless Love.
The cross Jesus Christ suffered testifies of this.
Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. | John 15:13
Naturally, as a bride on her wedding day, my eyes welled up on several occasions. But the most memorable and joyful one, the one that filled my heart to overflowing was when I stood facing my sweet groom, singing these words with a complete understanding of this incredible truth:
It was God’s love for us that birthed that very moment into existence.
Without Him, we wouldn’t be. Our love, our marriage – it sprung up out of God’s love for us as two sinful people and it was purposed for more than mere romantic companionship.
We love because he first loved us. | 1 John 4:19
Love, whether romantic or platonic in nature, is divinely purposed for God’s glory, to point to Him and the amazing story of His great, timeless, measureless Love for us.
Almost a year into our marriage, I am reminded again of this high calling.
Friends, may we love in such a way that “The Love of God” would be seen in and through us.