The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus
by Sharon Betters
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved…
Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV
When our sons asked me what songs I wanted sung at Mark’s memorial service, I didn’t hesitate to ask for O, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus. Though we wanted to rejoice in our faith, I wanted a way to express the anguish and desperate need for Jesus in the coming days. Remember the puddles of grace that the pilgrims ahead of us in life’s journey leave for our refreshment? This hymn compares the love of Jesus to an ocean of grace:
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o'er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o'er them from the throne!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
'Tis an ocean vast of blessing, 'tis a haven sweet of rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, 'tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!
Francis, Samuel Trevor. Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus, 1875
For me, this hymn is a cry of my soul, reminding me of the love of Jesus when God seems far away, when life feels desperate and relief nowhere to be found. I have tears in my eyes as I write these words, because His love sustains me, even in this moment.
The emotional impact of these words led me to believe only someone broken could write them. Recently I learned the author, Samuel Trevor Francis, a London merchant, contemplated suicide on a bridge over the River Thames. A teenager at the time, he knew something was not right in his heart. The Lord met him in that dark moment and instead of taking his own life, Samuel experienced a renewal of his faith. For the rest of his life, he wrote poems, hymns and preached the Gospel until his death at the age of 92. Samuel Trevor Francis’ beautiful hymn, Oh the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus, is a deep puddle of grace that still refreshes broken people to this day.
From the time of childhood, I learned hymns that have helped sustain me in the dark days of grief. My auto response to loss includes singing those hymns over and over again, often lamenting and weeping at midnight, pleading with the Lord to keep the promise of His presence and healing. Ancient words, sung with a renewed heart, with a different attitude because desperate circumstances opened my soul to the depth of the riches of His grace emboided in those old words.
Soak in the words of this song, and the precious description of the love of Jesus. Listen to it; let it follow you around today, reminding you of the ocean of love covering you, if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
O, the deep, deep love of Jesus…. Oh Father, thank you for sending Your Son as a demonstration of perfect love.