From The Kitchen Window - Measurements
Words by David Hollows
It is surprising that 50 years have now passed since decimalisation took place and we were expected to use a different system for measuring. How many of you still use feet and inches?
Measurements affect us in so many different ways and not just what happens to the waistline.
Measurement vocabulary remains important to us today, for example, as width, length, height and depth, especially when we are given details of moon and Mars probes and the distances which are travelled both in kilometres and light years, these measurements are often too large to fully comprehend.
But, returning to earth, depth is often a key dimension for measurement. Will the new car fit in the garage? Will the new washing machine fit into the space under the kitchen worktop?
For tulips to be a successful spring flower, the depth of soil is a key issue for the bulb, the deeper the better. When Jesus told the parable of the farmer, the depth of soil as well as the quality of the soil was a key element in the growth of the seed and the harvest each seed might produce (Mark chapter 4).
Measurement is a key element is sports. Those who climb mountains or participate in athletics have a precise understanding of how important measurements are to success. Those people who explore cave systems or enjoy pot-holing deep underground, have a healthy respect for the measurement of depth within the earth, not just for enjoyment but for survival.
Unfortunately, Bible characters such as Joseph (Genesis chapter 40) and Peter (Acts chapter 120 as well Paul and Silas (Acts chapter 16) had an opposite experience of depth during their time of imprisonment.
The recent mining incident in China when miners had to be rescued from the depth of the earth and precise measurements were required to secure their release, this is again an example of the dangers of the depths of the earth. Canaries were the historical way of detecting problems within a coal mine and in south Wales there are several mining pits which visitors can visit in order to fully appreciate the working conditions for men as well as ponies.
Joseph had the experience of being trapped in a well (Genesis chapter 37) as did Jeremiah who was punished by being assigned to a pit (Jeremiah chapter 38) The negative experience Jonah had was self-induced as he tried to escape from God and was swallowed by a large fish for several days.
There are many human experiences which cannot be measured in metric gauges. In Paris, the Tour Montparnasse is one of the highest office blocks in the capital so much so that from the roof even the Eiffel Tower looks a miniature. Height is a factor when travelling by hot air balloon and for many, the first time of flying can be daunting when looking out of the window.
Isaiah encourages us that there are times when our experience of God can be compared to the heights eagles reach when soaring (Isaiah chapter 40) and when Moses wanted to meet with God, he had to ascend a high mountain (Exodus chapter 19).
When we have a new life experience such as starting a new job or being promoted, we may use the phrase that we are ‘out of our depth.’ This was certainly the case for Gideon and what God had called him to do with a reduced number of soldiers (Judges chapter 6) Moses also thought himself to be completely unsuitable for the role God was giving him (Exodus chapter 3) and the transfiguration experience for Peter, James and John took them to a new height of experience of Jesus and completely out of their comfort zone (Matthew chapter 17).
Photo by William Warby via Unsplash
Depth is a word often used to measure emotion.
When Prince Albert died at an early age, Queen Victoria had such a depth of grief that decades of her life were limited to this mental condition. Similarly, when the baby boy of Bathsheba died, David deeply mourned and he presented his grief to God (2 Samuel chapter 12) Jesus also knew the depth of grief when He mourned the death of His friend, Lazarus, prior to the restoration of His friend to life (John chapter 11).
There is the depth of despair which we often witness in the media: protestors on the streets of our world hitting back against oppression and injustice or refugees and asylum seekers at the end of dangerous and long journeys to a better life.
Jairus comes to Jesus seeking healing for his daughter (Luke chapter 8) A woman touches the hem of the clothes of Jesus for healing (Matthew chapter 9) Elijah in the wilderness experience of depression (1 Kings chapter 19) Judas who commits suicide upon realising the dreadful mistake he has made against an innocent man (Matthew chapter 27) All these fully appreciate the words of the Psalmist; ‘out of the depths have I cried unto you’ (Psalm 130 verse 1).
We often see a range of emotions in the media; from outright hatred to sheer joy, from violent marches to candlelight vigils or flowers placed in memory of another person. Herodias had a hatred so deep for John the Baptizer that she instantly took the opportunity to have his head brought to her (Matthew chapter 14) Similarly, Saul had such a depth of animosity and jealousy for David, that Saul and his men hunted David (1 Samuel chapter 24).
On the other hand, when Mary poured expensive perfume on the head and feet of Jesus then wiped His feet with her hair, this depth of love is amazing (John chapter 12) as is the determination of Zacchaeus to see Jesus (Luke chapter 19).
The world of nature also gives us a perspective of measurement. If you have visited or seen photos of the Grand Canyon in America, you will realise the enormity of this natural wonder. Also, when we look into the night sky we gaze into the never-ending universe and the Mariana trench, which is miles below the surface of the ocean, is almost beyond comprehension.
Yet none of this can be measured against the facts that our God came to earth because He loves us so much (John chapter 3 verse 16) The Incarnate God also became for us the sacrificial God in order to redeem us. There is no measurement for the amazing grace and love which our God shows to us and as Paul wrote:
For I am convinced beyond doubt that neither death nor life, nor angels not principalities, nor things impending and threatening nor things to come nor powers. Nor height nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ (Romans chapter 8 verses 38 and 39)
So, how do you measure up?
You may find the following prayer helpful:
Generous God, you are perfect in goodness and we are filled with astonishment as the way you move in our lives, bringing hope, deepening love, creating new possibilities and all because you are wonderful in all your ways. Thank you God, that you measure us against the sacrifice of Jesus who is all we need to have a relationship with you. Thank you that you never measure us against your amazing love rather you accept us as we are. Generous God we praise you for the depth of your forgiveness, mercy and love which we enjoy now and will for all eternity.
God bless you