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Painting a Picture of God’s Love

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Painting word pictures. That’s what writers do as they craft words to describe events, feelings, or objects. Christian writers cover many topics, but the gist of their message is that God loves us all.

I’m reminded of  the hymn, “The Love of God,”  written in 1917 by Frederick M. Lehman. George Beverly Shea of the Billy Graham Crusades sang it often. Lehman, the writer of the lyrics, begins this way:

The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell.

With the first line, he reminds us that preachers and writers over the centuries have attempted to describe the love of God. But, total understanding of that love is really beyond human description because God’s love can’t be measured or contained.

The refrain following each verse continues that thought:

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure—
The saints’ and angels’ song.

But, for writers, the third verse brings it home.

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.

As a writer, you might feel inadequate hearing this. You might think, “If it’s not possible to describe God’s love, why should I even try? There are many writers out there who write far better than I do.”

But, I don’t see it that way. I’m encouraged by Lehman’s chorus. We can all contribute words to the total picture. A painting is composed of many strokes of the brush. Some strokes are very small, and seemingly insignificant. Over the centuries, individual writers and preachers have contributed their words to paint the picture of God’s love. Each contribution, or  brush stroke, is as unique as the person who contributed it. And, every stroke is needed to make the picture complete.

So—writers, preachers, musicians—don’t be discouraged. Keep contributing to the body of work that attempts to describe the love of God.

Scripture References:

Photo Source: https://pixabay.com/en/artist-painter-painting-729846/

The refrain following each verse continues that thought:

Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!

How measureless and strong!

It shall forevermore endure—

The saints’ and angels’ song.

But, for writers, the third verse brings it home.

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.

Some of our writers’ conference attendees might feel inadequate hearing this. They might think, “If it’s not possible to describe God’s love, why should we even try? There are so many people who can do a better job than me anyway.”

But, I see these words as encouraging. We can all contribute our words to the total picture. As an example, a jigsaw puzzle contains many pieces, each needed to reveal the whole picture. Over the centuries, individual writers and preachers contribute their words to paint a picture of God’s love for subsequent generations. Each piece is as unique as the person who contributed it. And, each piece is needed to make the picture complete.

So—writers, preachers, musicians—don’t be discouraged. Keep contributing to the body of work that attempts to describe the love of God.

Listen to “The Love of God” online here.

Scripture References:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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2 Responses to Painting a Picture of God’s Love

  1. PaulaNo Gravatar March 18, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

    This is one of my favorite hymns, Emily. Coincidentally, a distant cousin who worked with my mother on our genealogy had the name Lehman. I’ve tweeted sections of it on Twitter and have a CD with 4Him singing it; an arrangement I enjoy more than any other I’ve heard.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I know I will never be able, with the small vocabulary I’ve been given, to describe our Eternal Creator. Nevertheless, I believe He treasures each attempt I make.

  2. Emily AkinNo Gravatar March 18, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

    I’m sure God loves every effort we make on his behalf.

    We sang The Love of God in worship session at Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. I believe it was 2010. Virginia (Ginny) Smith led the singing, and I played the piano. It was awesome.

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