“These Narrow and Ebb Souls”

There is a knowing of love that surpasses ordinary knowledge. All thoughtful and true lovers know this. Being loved isn't identical to knowing that one is being loved. This is not spooky. It is in fact gloriously ordinary. Just as a blue sky, a bright sun, a cool breeze, yellow-green leaves, and a new bird-song may hold you in unexpected, unselfconscious thrall for a season, so there are moments when the heart apprehends the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.

Paul prayed this for us:

That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

My prayer: To know Christ’s love in a way that surpasses knowledge. Not less. More.

So again Samuel Rutherford quickens these longings:

Alas, that we should love by measure and weight, and not rather have floods and feasts of Christ’s love! O, that Christ would break down the old narrow vessels of these narrow and ebb souls, and make fair, deep, wide, and broad souls to hold a sea and a full tide, flowing over all banks, of Christ’s love. (The Loveliness of Christ: Extracts from the Letters of Samuel Rutherford, 67-68)

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.