Deep, Deep Love

Samuel Trevor Francis

He was a teenage boy at the end of his strength. Questioning his faith, his very life. As the story goes, this night he was on his way home from work. He walked the streets of London and found himself on the Hungerford Bridge. He looked over the rail at the deep dark waters of the Thames River and considered ending his life. He saw relief from his misery in the deep cold water. He was overwhelmed by life and thought that his answer was to allow the waters to overwhelm him one final time.

But there in the dark, something…Someone, spoke to his heart. What he heard was a call to not throw himself into the deep darkness to be swallowed up. Rather a call to throw himself into the immeasurable, deep, deep love of Jesus.  He listened and it changed his life forever.

This young man named Samuel Trevor Francis went on to write the lyrics to a powerful hymn. He would serve his Lord in ministry for the next 73 years until his death in 1925. Read the words below  and ponder how God turned this desperate young man’s  end into a new beginning. Then consider that God invites you to experience that same deep love.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

I invite you to enjoy this rendition of the song by Selah.

In Our Loss We Find God

Cemetery Memorial

Loss. Grief. A broken heart.

I am willing to guess that at least one of those brings a personal experience to your mind. We’ve all suffered a loss of some kind in our lives. Whether it’s a death of a loved one or the loss of a job or other opportunity, we all have experienced that feeling of loss. That sadness that comes with the end of something or someone that was important to us.

God tells us that loss and grief in this life are inevitable. He also promises us that when we come face to face with a personal loss, He will not expect us to handle it alone. He promises that he will restore what we have lost. Not that He will replace it with something similar, but that He will restore our joy and our peace. That we can find purpose in our lives after the loss and that He will make every experience count for our good.

Lamentations  3 contains 66 verses where Jeremiah begins by detailing just how bad life has gotten and how bitter it has made him. Then he changes his attitude and chooses to see how God has been faithful. Finally he points out that things haven’t changed in the natural but he has changed his view of all of it so God is able to restore Jeremiah’s peace in the midst of his grief.

Here is what Jeremiah says about God in the middle of Lamentations 3.

Remember my affliction and my wandering, the wormwood and bitterness.

Surely my soul remembers
And is bowed down within me.

This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.

The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.

They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.”

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.

It is good that he waits silently
For the salvation of the LORD.

It is good for a man that he should bear
The yoke in his youth.

Let him sit alone and be silent
Since He has laid it on him.

Let him put his mouth in the dust,
Perhaps there is hope.

Let him give his cheek to the smiter,
Let him be filled with reproach.

For the Lord will not reject forever,

For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion
According to His abundant lovingkindness.

For He does not afflict willingly
Or grieve the sons of men.

Allow God to meet you in the midst of your loss and He will be faithful to lift you up. No sadness is too great or too small for God to restore your joy.

Sometimes You Gotta Do the Hard Stuff

I sent my 15-year-old son on a plane by himself. I knew it was the right thing to do. But it wasn’t the easy thing to do.

And I don’t think it was a coincidence that at the same time he was changing planes in Chicago, I was working on my Bible study lesson. The lesson was about how difficult it would have been for Paul and Silas to send Timothy to the Thessalonians by himself. He was young and inexperienced but they had confidence that he would be fine.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud as I thought about how God orchestrated that moment to show me something. As I wrestled with the feelings a mother gets sending her children off on their own, I heard God speaking to my heart.

There are many times that God asks us to do things that seem hard. Many times we feel stretched beyond our capacity to face the challenges that are set before us.

But the good news is that God has full confidence in us as he asks us to do the hard things. He already knows the growth that we will experience by trusting Him as we take steps that might feel a little scary.

What are you facing that seems hard today? Be encouraged! God will walk each step with you. As a mother, I couldn’t go with my son on that plane, but I knew that my Heavenly Father was right there with him.

And who knows what work the Lord did in that young man — and his mother — because we were both bold enough and brave enough to trust Him with the outcome.

Isaiah 41:10  Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.