I love the ability that children seem to have to build their own fantasy world where they can be whoever they want and do whatever they want. In this world all their dreams come true and there is no such word as ‘impossible’. Then somehow grown ups smash that world into pieces and teach them not to expect too much from life because they could be disappointed if things don’t go as they have hoped it would. So as adults, we live lives within the limits that either others or we have set. We begin to colour inside the lines because somehow we have believed the lie that life is supposed to be lived within the limits of what is ‘possible’ to man.
I am sad to admit that as I have got older I have found cynicism creeping up on me more than I would like and embracing life with the childhood expectation I once had becoming more of a challenge. Yet Jesus himself spoke these words in Mark 9: 23:
“If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
When did you and I stop believing this in its entirety? When did we start rationalizing and making excuses for ourselves and for God when circumstances in our lives don’t line up with this verse? Now I know that I could never grow wings and fly (no matter how much I badly want to). But I am not talking about things that are beyond the remit of what God has promised us as His children. I am talking about those things that our Father has given us through the death and resurrection of His Son. Those things that the scriptures so clearly tell us belong to us. Things like health, peace, joy, direction when we need it, provision of all that we need physical or otherwise and a sound mind?
I watched a program where a four year old was asked what he wanted to do when he grew up. His answer? Save the planet. Another four year old said she wanted to be a hairdresser and a doctor. Limits? Apparently none. When my children were young they believed we, their parents could do anything, make their wildest dreams come true. What do you believe about God, your heavenly Father? Is He really all that he says He is? If you and I believe that then we ought to live differently.
Throughout the Bible, God encourages His people to dream, to push their expectations beyond what is possible to the ordinary person that is without God. He says this in Ephesians 3: 20:
Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us, 21 to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen. (Amplified Bible)
The NIV uses the word imagine in place of ‘think’. More than I can imagine? Does that mean that however big my imagination is, that His love and power are bigger still? Few of us have erred in asking too much. If anything we have asked for too little, basing our prayers on how much we can of ourselves accomplish. We have allowed our imagination to be limited by others, by circumstances, past disappointments and fear of unanswered prayers.
How big is your God? When was the last time you asked Him for something that was absolutely impossible without His help? A prayer that you prayed in hushed tones because you were too scared to pray it out loud in case you offended someone or they thought you were crazy? When was the last time you stepped out on God’s promise with nothing to fall back on except his mercy?
As I read through the Bible, I am challenged by people who were audacious in their asking and in their expectation. Ordinary people accomplished extraordinary things because they dared to allow their imagination take them beyond what was humanly possible. Beyond what their education or genealogy qualified them for. They were bold and courageous and knew that God would not be fazed by their request. They had nothing to lose except their reputation. But everything to gain. Like Abraham, Joseph, Hannah, Elijah, David, Jabez, I want to be counted among those who dream big dreams and pray big prayers. Those who are numbered in Hebrews’ Hall of Faith. I don’t want to be limited by my experiences (good or bad) or my human ability. If you and I are going to live the abundant life we are called to live then we are going to start allowing our imagination to grow.
So I ask again how big is your imagination?