For me, this past post about the word Listen and this present post about the word Imagine are linked. Not just because they are quite obviously in two parts, not because they are words for me to focus on this year, but because I need one to fuel the other.
I mentioned here that I wanted to learn to listen with a new level of trust in God's desire to teach me, to trust that He personally speaks to me with His Truth. I shared that I have an insecurity in believing that God really wants to work within me and that He is probably more interested in others.
The second verse that popped out at me as I was reading and studying recently was from Ephesians 3:20.
Now to him that 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.
All we imagine? I was captured by that word usage for a while as I lay in my bed reflecting, bible open and head propped on the pillows. I can imagine quite a few things. I have a fairly active imagination, actually. It opened a pasture of new possibilities...what does God in His Omnipotence imagine for us? For me? It's mind-bending to think of how billions of people on this planet have wild imaginations, yet God has life for each one of us beyond what any of those imaginations could summon in our minds.
Consider this phrase from the 21st Century King James Version,
Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think...
The exceeding's, the abundant's, the above all's, for me! It's true according to His power that is at work within me, for His glory.
Somehow it's so hard for me to connect all of those fabulous adjectives to me and my life. Do I really believe God is beyond my imagination?
I want to say yes, because it sounds Sunday School good. The truth is that I often stay within my own imagination. Since that is fueled by me, it's significantly limited and, well, often sidetracked onto thoughts which essentially feed my own glory.
There is a great gift in attending church at a young age. I heard the Bible stories and heard the gospel. I memorized Awana verses that still come back to me and sang songs that I now sing to my own son. But somehow, sadly, I wasn't really amazed by God. I accepted His miracles and His power as commonplace stories, forgetting how uncommon God's nature is in this world.
Along the road, whether it was my apathy to God's Word or the pain that broke into my life with jagged wounds, I never gained a deep trust, a belief in God's recognition of Kristen.
When I consider it, it's a little intimidating to pray those kinds of prayers and think those thoughts. Maybe I have wanted to feel safe, to stay tucked inside the warm and cozy covers of my apathy. You know, God's work outside of my comfort zone might surprise me with a blast of icy cold air and leave me wanting to dive under the covers again. Unfortunately, staying in bed doesn't leave a lot of room for growth, much less unimaginable wonders for God to show me.
But what would it be like if I truly asked God to plant His dreams and His
imagination within me? What if I believed that His power is working in
me to bring the abundant work to fruition? I wonder how my own heart might be
transformed by believing and trusting in a fresh way, fully acknowledging
and embracing who God says He is in His Word?
Time to get a little risky...beyond my own imagination.