And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully.
I was in a meeting recently with some pastors in my network, learning from each other and exploring what it means to be centered on Jesus. One of my Canadian friends was just riffing about his journey of life with God. "There is always more depth, always more to know, always more to discover," he said. "It's like we have a bottomless God."
Since then, I've been thinking about this concept of God being bottomless.
I don't often think in those terms. I believe deeply that Jesus has revealed God in complete fullness (Hebrews 1:3). So I will often talk about how we can truly know God with clarity in a way that was never possible before Jesus. We don't have to wonder what God is like.
But all too often, that can lead to the entirety of my faith being just trying to do the stuff Jesus said. After all, I know what God is about. I figured it out!
Now, don't get me wrong! The personal action component of following Jesus is absolutely central. We cannot read the New Testament without seeing these: Come and follow me, love your enemies, serve one another, etc. Jesus has given us clarity on what God is about and what we are supposed to do, for sure.
But sometimes my tendency is to assume that since I have some clarity, there isn't much new to discover. The problem with this assumption is that our view of God remains very static, and requires zero active faith whatsoever. It's kind of spiritless, honestly. Just a lot of work to do, and that's the extent of it.
When we think that we've gotten to the bottom of our understanding and awareness, knowing exactly how God works or what we're supposed to do, we will (ever so subtly) begin to rely on ourselves and trust God less. If we have God figured out, then we know longer expect God to shape and surprise us in new ways. And we don't seek wisdom and grace on deeper levels.
I've learned that there is a wonderful and mysterious thing that happens to us when we realize that there is always more to discover. It's not that we don't have clarity. It's that clarity and mysterious depth are not mutually exclusive.
I remember almost 30 years ago, staring into the remarkable blue and orange steaming pools of Yellowstone National Park for the first time. It's one of the thin places in the world where the crust of the earth is more narrow, offering glimpses into awe-inspiring geological wonders. But here's the thing. The water is crystal clear. You can see everything with absolute clarity. Yet it also keeps going down and down, much farther beyond anything you could comprehend.
It's clear. And bottomless.
So it is as we walk with Jesus.
This should give us a sense of peace that we can truly know God. It should also give us a nudge to humbly keep diving, even when you think you see clearly. You might be right! But even if you are, there's always more to discover. More wonder, more love, more grace, more understanding, more compassion, and more depth. We are in relationship with a bottomless God. What a beautiful mystery.
Jesus, refresh my faith and curiosity this week. Help me listen for where you are inviting me to grow in receiving your grace and expressing your love.