This is an edited reflection I wrote in 2015.
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
“These words were found written on a cell wall in a prison some 200 years ago. It is not known why the prisoner was incarcerated; neither is it known if the words were original or if he had heard them somewhere and had decided to put them in a place where he could be reminded of the greatness of God’s love – whatever the circumstances, he wrote them on the wall of his prison cell. In due time, he died and the men who had the job of repainting his cell were impressed by the words. Before their paint brushes had obliterated them, one of the men jotted them down and thus they were preserved.” https://doubleedgemusic.com/love-god-frederick-lehman/
What a remarkable story of an unknown man, who perhaps experienced the love of God in that prison cell, and was inspired to write those words that we now sing in church, hundreds of years later.
What is the love of God? The Bible says that God is love (1 John 4:8). God and love cannot be separated. Love is who He is. Just as it is impossible for God to lie, so too it is impossible for God not to love, because that is His character. Sometimes this can be difficult for us to wrap our minds around, because human love is so fickle. It is here one day, and gone the next. And yet, even if everyone we know and love would forsake us, we have One who has loved us with an everlasting love, and has drawn us with loving-kindness (Jeremiah 31:8). What have we to be discouraged about, when we have such a love as this? What does it matter if friends disown us, or life does not turn out as planned, when we have such a love as this? Romans 8 tells us that nothing can separate from the love of God! Nothing means nothing!
We see this love demonstrated through the Cross, for “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” John 15:13. Jesus manifested the love of God when He went to the Cross. This love was a complete forsaking of His agenda for that of His Father’s, a stripping of His majesty and glory for the ransoming of those whom He loved. Let us pray that we may continually have eyes to see the passionate, selfless love of our precious Savior more clearly, and that we may lay our whole lives on the altar in response.
I will not fear, tho’ darkness come
Abroad o’er all the land,
If I may only feel the touch
Of His own loving hand.
And tho’ I tremble when I think
How weak I am, and frail,
My soul is satisfied to know
His love can never fail.