One of God’s all-time greatest gifts is imagination. We’ve all got it, but some of the more analytical-rational/sequential types just haven’t unwrapped it yet.
So, let’s take it out for a spin.
Imagination is a core necessity for faith. If you can’t imagine God doing great things, wondrous things, unexpected things, impossible things, then your faith has nothing to build on; it’s limited and so is God. Remember, even Jesus was limited by the absence of faith.
Perhaps that’s why I love the MercyMe song, “I Can Only Imagine.”
I can only imagine
What it will be like
When I walk
By your side.
I can only imagine
What my eyes will see
When your face
Is before me.
I can only imagine.
God has impossible things planned for us in this world and the next, if we have eyes to see: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV
In the comedy movie, Bedtime Stories, Skeeter (Adam Sandler) lives in a story-world full of imagination. It begins with bedtime stories. Skeeter connects with and learns to love his niece and nephew; and, their shared imagination changes his life.
The stories contain all their fondest hopes. In the story-world anything can happen and does. But, can anything happen in the real-world? Anything? In the movie, their real-life is forever changed by their imagination. Could that really happen? The change? Yes, if you believe!
Imagination opens our eyes to divine appointments and holy ground moments. It’s where God does his best work. It empowers and vitalizes faith. Without it, God stays buried in the words of an ancient book.
Toward the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Indiana’s Dad was shot by the stories antagonist, Donavan. Dr. Jones is dying and the greedy Donavan challenges Indiana to take action, to go after the Holy Grail, or his father will die.
“It’s time to ask yourself what you believe, Dr. Jones.”
Without a word, and with his dad’s Grail Diary in hand, Indiana begins the three great challenges. First, “Only the penitent man will pass.” He bows and that saves his head.
Second, “Only in the footsteps of God will he proceed.” Indiana steps on the tiles spelling the name of God in Latin, and heads for the last challenge.
He reaches a gorge with sheer walls on both sides. The diary says he must leap from the lions head. The distance is impossible. It’s a leap of faith.
In the background his dad says, “You must believe, boy, you must believe.”
He steps out into the canyon and discovers what he could not see, a carefully camouflaged bridge, a narrow, unseen path, leading to the cave on the other side.
Imagination paved the way for faith and faith stepped into the unknown.
Consider this week as National Imagination Week. Dream a little. Make up a faith story. Tell about how the hero faces an impossible task in the darkest hour with nothing but his or her trust in God. Tell about the danger, the test, and the leap of faith. Dream about what it would be like to live that story.
Give your imagination a workout.
Then, take a moment to thank God for the gift.
Imagine this to be preparation for your coming faith test.