Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the sky of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And ev’ry man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Tho’ stretched from sky to sky.
-Fredrick Martin Lehman, 1917
These lines by Lehman capture my imagination. It’s an incredible analogy–the thought of a sky being a writing pad, the ocean the ink, and the fields filled with quills that, used to their immense capacity, cannot touch the hem of God’s love.
John gave a similar statement at the end of his eyewitness account of Jesus’ life on earth when he wrote, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). Is John writing in hyperbole? Whether he is or not, his sentiments express the point that God’s Son did so much for us while He was on this earth. And wasn’t God’s greatest act of love sending Jesus?
The magnitude of God’s care and devotion is fathomless, just as His mind and His ways are so far above me. How can I return so great a love? I can’t, but I can open my arms to His love. I can open my mind to His thoughts, which He has had written down for me. His Word has been preserved through generations so that I get to rediscover His plan from the beginning. I can open my heart to His wisdom and His instruction, knowing that He will teach me to walk in His ways. It is no hyperbole to say it will take an eternity to fathom the perfection of His love. Lehman’s lyrics help the writer in me better contemplate that truth.