Some years ago at a pastor’s retreat I won flights for two to Barbados. Wendy and I were able to spend about three weeks down there. Yes I know; rough life as a pastor. What a wonderful place, but the best part of the trip for me was snorkelling. For at least three hours most days I was diving in that crystal clear water.
The spot I went most often was an old reef of about 10 acres in size. The coral, though dead or dying, was a maze of channels and small underwater ravines ranging in depth from six or seven feet to over twenty feet. Exploring through all that, looking into and under all the nooks and crannies and crevasses held almost endless fascination for me.
Wendy doesn’t share my passion for exploration nearly so much. For her the best thing about the trip was the opportunity to sit on the beach and read for a while and then go into the ocean and float and cool off; a wonderful time of relaxation. She did decide to put the mask on one day so she could see what I was so fascinated with. What she saw almost took her breath away, which isn’t necessarily a good thing if your face is under water.
There below her, right where she had been standing were dozens and dozens of small fish with flashing, brilliant colors and a spectacular variation in shapes and sizes. She was astounded that that she had been completely unaware of the richness and diversity that was right there around her.
For many of us, our relationship with God is much like that. We’re in the water, all wet even. We know and have experienced the ocean, but are mostly unaware of the richness and wonder that is available for us to experience with God.
May I suggest an exercise to help explore these depths? Go to 1 John 4:16 and find the part of that verse that says God is love. Now stop and spend at least five minutes to begin with (you will discover that at least a half hour becomes necessary eventually) and repeat that phrase. Roll it over in your mind; listen for God to communicate the depths and richness of that truth to your heart and soul and mind. If it helps, broaden your focus to the rest of verse 16 but no more.
This is what the Psalmist called meditation. Ps 48:9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. Ps 77:12 I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. Ps 119:148 My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises. Ps 119:27 Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. Ps 143:5 I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. (NIV)
There are few who have explored the depths of God to the extent that David did, but the biggest reason is that we haven’t tried. It takes effort and discipline, and time. But it is so worth all that it costs.