This morning my daughter, Cora, “read” us a story from the Bible. It mostly consisted of “a little man named Mike” battling it out with “crocodiles, alligators, monsters, and bad people” in an “apple house.” In the end the monster ate all of the people, except Mike his brothers, sisters and kids. Josh and I were trying hard not to laugh at her as she told us this fantastic, random tale of woe. We didn’t want her to stop because she thought we were making fun of her.
This Saturday morning scene got me thinking about imagination. When I was little I could stay in my grandparent’s pool all day coming up with stories about being a mermaid and having tea parties on the pool floor. Or those times when I would play in our backyard with the neighbor kids and we’d pretend to be princesses and pirates and “the mom.” When did my ability to believe in the extraordinary disappear? Slowly as I matured I started feeling like it wasn’t ok to think about what could be and instead started planning for what seemed to be.
The Bible tells me in Ephesians 3:20 that God is able to go abundantly beyond what I could think or imagine. Not to take the verse out of context, Paul writes in the verses before about his prayer for the Ephesians that they would be strengthened in the Spirit and able to comprehend the love that Christ has for them, which surpasses knowledge. Paul closes the chapter by saying that all of this power, knowledge, love and action is for the furtherance of God’s glory.
So, does my reluctance to ask or imagine the implausible from God come from a lack of knowledge of Christ’s love for me? As adults too often we’re afraid to wish and hope for things; to dream about what our future could be. The responsibilities of life take over and our focus becomes paying the bills for the month and hoping to retire someday.
Although it has become somewhat diminished, my natural tendency is to think about, plan for and dream of what’s next. I still think about what could be, but not always with the expectation that God will allow it to happen. I’ve lost the inkling of how much Christ loves me – which is enough to make my seemingly impossible dreams become a reality.
Not to go to the other extreme, I don’t see this verse as a promise that God will make whatever I think up happen. I do see it saying that if I have strength through the Spirit and a relationship with Christ the things I ask and imagine will be small compared to what He has for me. So here’s a few of the dreams I feel like God has given me over the years, listed with a hope that He will actually bring it to fruition:
- Work as a missionary in France.
- Have a retreat center that provides a free escape for people in ministry to prevent burnout.
- Write and speak more.
But not all of my dreams are for me. These are the ones I have for Josh:
- Have the ability to play and share the music he’s written with others
- Live in a house at the base of the mountains by a lake…hmm this one seems to fit with my retreat center dream. :)