IMAGINATION. CHILDREN USUALLY have very good imaginations.
Not so much.
As we grow older, we often become ensnared by observable, comprehendible, explainable facts.
Reason trumps imagination.
Our imagination becomes dormant.
Fortunately, there are some Christian authors who have blessed us and taught us with their imaginations.
I’m embarrassed to say it wasn’t until late in my adulthood that I read C.S. Lewis’s masterpiece, “The Chronicles of Narnia.”
I’m a fan of Frank Peretti, whose novels, “This Present Darkness” and “Piercing the Darkness,” stir our imagination as we read about the battle “against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12 ESV) that surround us.
Peretti let the Bible stir his imagination — and ours.
But you might not want to read these two novels at bedtime.
God divinely inspired the authors of our Bible to stir our imagination.
Now please don’t misunderstand me.
I believe the Bible is factual and historical, but if our imagination isn’t stirred when we read our Bible, neither will our hearts be stirred.
From beginning to end, the Bible should stir our imagination.
When we read the creation account in Genesis, our imagination is supposed to kick in all five of our senses.
Was it noisy during that week of creation?
Was the forbidden fruit sweet or bitter?
What did God’s custom-tailored garments of skin for Adam and Eve look like?
Skin from what animal?
The book of Revelation also revs up our imagination: angels, living creatures, scrolls and seals, a dragon and beasts, plagues, trumpets, varied colored horses, a bride and a groom, 12 city gates — each made from a single pearl.
Commentaries and interpretations abound on Revelation, but explaining it can sometimes be like the old adage of dissecting a frog: you understand it better, but the frog dies in the process.
We need to engage our imagination, for it is conducive to awe and Jesus is awesome.
It’s been 18 years since the Christian band Mercy Me introduced us to their hit song, “I Can Only Imagine.”
The lyrics stirred us to imagine what it will be like when we are face-to-face with Jesus.
Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel?
Will I dance for you Jesus?
Or in awe of You be still?
Will I stand in Your presence?
Or to my knees will I fall?
Will I sing Hallelujah?
Will I be able to speak at all?
I can only imagine
— Bart Marshal Millard, 1999, Simpleview Music, ASCAP
The popularity of the song proved that we enjoy imagining.
Even so, our imagination is still insufficient to fully capture God’s magnitude and glory.
“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).
However, even though God is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” I believe God invites us to do both — ask — and imagine.
Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Greg Reynolds is pastor of Joyce Bible Church. His email is [email protected]