This year I was on the golf course alone before anyone else had begun. Being out in nature, I was in a worshipful mood. On the third hole, I remember looking up into the tops of the trees and beyond to the sky. More than a physical awareness of the material trees and sky, I was looking through them with a spiritual awareness and started making up a song.

Like other poets who see the theme of God’s love as something “higher than the heavens,” that phrase became part of my song. And then, if you’re going to talk of the dimensions of God’s love, you might as well go where all the other poets go, so I sang “deeper than any ocean is His great love for me.” But I still had one more dimension: how wide is God’s love? I felt a little disappointment that I had already used the metaphor of the ocean, so I couldn’t use it again to say His love is both deeper than the ocean and wider than the ocean…and then it hit me!

How wide is God’s love? Wide enough to include me.

With all my sins needing forgiveness, His love is big enough to handle that. For all the billions of people in the world, there was still room for one more — me — to be in His heart. He has a big heart.

So, the song phrase ended up being:

Higher than the highest heaven up above Deeper than any ocean is His great love for me Wide enough for me to have room in His heart Nothing and no one compares to Him and His love

Too many times to record, I have asked God to forgive me and He does. That’s love. In fact, that is such a great model of love that I set my eyes on offering the same forgiveness to those who hurt me. But those are big shoes to fill because God is going to have to help me do it by making my heart big enough to be forgiving when I’m truly hurt.

Also in my prayers, I’ve received assignments from God. For example, I hear of a friend in a compromising situation or having done something wrong, and it is as if God is telling my conscience, “Go help that friend.” But I don’t. Instead, I find some excuse to avoid an awkward conversation or I’m just too lazy or self-centered. And then…I see someone else has gone and helped them, someone has been a better friend to them, someone listened and obeyed when God had nudged them to do what I had not done. I guess that my heart was too small but God’s heart was big enough to keep at it until the good that needed to happen…happened. It needed to be done and He found someone else to do what I should have done. Shame on me, but praise to Him!

Nothing and no one compares to Him and His love. He has a big heart.

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Bernie Simmons and his wife, Sue, have been a part of Grace for many years, faithfully serving families for much of that time through GraceKIDS. More recently Bernie enjoyed continued ministry through various teaching and pastoral care opportunities, spending a significant portion of his time leading teams that serve in local nursing homes. Now retired, he still serves as an elder and Bernie and Sue continue to call Grace their church home.