Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable. (Psalm 145:3, ESV)
This verse struck me significantly during corporate worship this past Sunday—in particular, the notion of being "unsearchable." In thinking on this verse, my mind equates "unsearchable" to the notion of "unfathomable" (in fact, the NIV does translate that way). Something that's unfathomable is a thing whose depth cannot be found.
Our family has enjoyed in the past a BBC TV series Planet Earth
(it's free at the library, by the way), a documentary with some pretty spectacular visuals of remote places I'll never see otherwise. One of those episodes
shows some insane people (my assessment, anyway) free-falling into a vast gulf. It turns out, they're "skydiving" (without the sky part) into the Cave of Swallows, an enormous cavern that would easily fit entire giant sky scrapers within it. I can imagine standing at the edge (well, maybe not really at
the edge but, to the point...) and kicking or dropping in a big rock and listening to the silence as it traveled the seemingly bottomless distance. I suspect I'd never hear the thud.
But there is in fact a bottom. One technically can "fathom" it. It reminds me of other "pits" of the Psalmist that were seemingly bottomless. Like the pit of those who feel separated from God or his counsel, as described in Psalm 28:
To you, O Lord, I call;
my rock, be not deaf to me,
lest, if you be silent to me,
I become like those who go down to the pit.
Or the pit of Psalm 40 that is the pit of destruction (self- or otherwise) that just feels like we can't get out because we're so "stuck" in the mire:
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
Or the pit of Psalm 88 that feels like a deep grave, cut-off from God:
For my soul is full of troubles,
and my life draws near to Sheol.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
I am a man who has no strength,
like one set loose among the dead,
like the slain that lie in the grave,
like those whom you remember no more,
for they are cut off from your hand.
You have put me in the depths of the pit,
in the regions dark and deep.
Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
and you overwhelm me with all your waves.
The glorious, praiseworthy reality is that not one of those pits are "unfathomable". The rock does in fact hit a bottom, so to speak. Not so of God's greatness. In contrast, there is no pit into which God's arm cannot reach, for his unfathomable greatness always outstretches the bottom—however seemingly endless—of whatever the pit. And that is the stuff that can erupt in our worship of the unsearchable greatness of God, as we also see in Psalm 103:
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
Do you feel like you're in a deep, seemingly bottomless pit right now? If so, there's good news. No matter how deep the pit feels, you can be confident of this: God's great love is deeper still. Perhaps this is why Paul included "depth" in his list of intimidating things that ultimately prove unable to separate us from the love of God in Christ (Rom. 8:38-39).
Be encouraged. Pits can be scary, hopeless, and disorienting—but they're not unfathomable. Only God's greatness is unfathomable. So let's come together again this Sunday to rejoice in the unsearchable-ness of God, and his redemption of us from all pits, however deep.