“The Christian is the one whose imagination should fly beyond the stars” – Francis Schaeffer
“Imagination” is one of those words that inspire us. Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Our collective imagination is what challenges us to take risks and step out in faith. For children, imagining is an easy task, but as we age, that force often is underutilized. Developing imagination is a necessity, and it is crucial to the Christian faith. The key to liberating ourselves from the oppressive tension between this world and the next, Jesus seems to say, is imagination.
Imagination is the groundwork of progress. It is the blueprint of joy. Before we climb a mountain, we must be able to imagine ourselves at the peak. Before we write a book, we imagine seeing our name printed on the cover. Before we break an addiction, lose weight, or get out of debt, we imagine that change as a reality. God has given us imagination so that we can envision the possibilities in between who we are today and who we were made to be, between the world in its fallen condition and a world where all inhabit life to the fullest.
We cannot anticipate or desire what we cannot imagine. When our imagination is biblically developed, we start to see people and things the way God sees them. Christians are called to imagine what could be and what will be, while also living in the present. When you read the Bible, do you use your imagination? I strongly suggest you do. Does that sound surprising? For some reason, we Christians tend to like truth, facts, and well-crafted arguments. Use your imagination on the story where Jesus walks on water in Matthew 14:22 – 33.
It’s early in the morning. The disciples are in a boat when a furious storm breaks out. Do you think the men are nervous? It’s dark. They can’t tell what direction to steer toward. Then they see what they think is a ghost walking on the water. Maybe it is the lightning reflected off the water. They are terrified and then they realize it is Jesus. Can you imagine the relief they must have felt? Peter is drawn to Jesus. He decides to join Jesus in this miracle. Jesus smiles and waves for him to come overboard.
What would you be thinking or better yet, what would you be doing? They watch Peter actually walking on the water to join Jesus. Can you imagine? Would you start to leave the boat to join them? But things go south and Peter cries out for help as he slowly starts to sink. You imagine the cold water and the fear of sinking and it doesn’t take much imagination to swing your leg back into the relative safety of the boat. But Jesus catches Peter. How does His hand feel as it grasps your arm? What is going through your heart? What would you want to say to Jesus? Can you imagine?
Imagining a scene in Scripture helps us become part of the story and allows the story to become part of us.
- Do you use your imagination spiritually? If so, how often?
- How can your imagination help a Bible story come alive?