I once heard a speaker claim that one of the biggest problems with Christians was a lack of imagination.
I don’t remember anymore who said it, or the topic of the speech it was used in.
But that part stuck.
A lack of imagination?
Maybe other Christians!
But me? Me!?!
I’ve got a vivid imagination.
You know that one kid in elementary school who couldn’t seem to keep her fantasies straight from reality? You remember. The one whose mother was really a princess and whose father was secretly an international spy? The one who sang with Michael Jackson and swam with sharks. That was me. I lied incessantly as a child, making up huge grandiose tales. They weren’t true but they could have been, they should have been. In my mind, they pretty much were. Even a quarter of a century later, as an adult, I occasionally trail off mid-story to wonder, “Wait. Is this just a tale I’ve told so many times over the years that it’s become my reality, or did it really happen this way?”
My overactive imagination got me in trouble a lot as a young woman too. I had an entire imaginary relationship with a male friend. Each word, each raise of an eyebrow, each action I interpreted and re-interpreted, then analyzed again until the relationship in my imagination took on epic proportions. I wrote heart-sick poetry about this man for years. When the gentleman who occupied my thoughts eventually started courting someone else, it broke my heart. The mourning process afterwards was just as long and as sorrowful as if we had really been dating.
So, no. No one has ever accused me of a lack of imagination before.
The speaker went on to quote 1 Corinthians 2:9
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”- the things God has prepared for those who love him- (NIV)
It was a lack of imagination that caused me to pray my narrow little prayer, “Lord, I never want to leave Hawaii. I can’t handle the mainland. I’m an island girl. Let me stay here forever.” I couldn’t imagine a better life.
But God had prepared for me blessings in the desert that I had never seen. I couldn’t even have envisioned the healing would come to me there.
Lord, thank you for saying no and drawing me away from my island home.
It was lack of imagination that caused me to beg God desperately for the affections of that certain friend all those years ago. “But Daddy, I LOVE him. He is so perfect for me with his brown skin and his beautiful voice.” I couldn’t imagine a better man.
But God was preparing for me a groom better than any I had ever heard of. I couldn’t have spun a tale of a kinder, humbler, more selfless man than the husband God eventually blessed me with.
Daddy, thank you for saying no to my desperate desire for one man’s love.
It was a lack of imagination that prompted me to plead again and again with God to take away the depression that forced me to my knees, broken. “Jesus, I cannot live with this. It hurts too much. Please take away this pain.” I couldn’t even conceive how it might ever serve any righteous purpose.
But God used every sorrow, every single tear, for my good and his glory. Of all the experiences in my life, my depression has been the most fruitful. Depression first drove me to Christ 15 years ago. Depression finally forced me to be faithful in prayer and reading my bible just to make it through the day. Depression stripped me of the isolating pride so strongly intertwined with my overachiever personality. Depression blossomed into empathy and a love for broken people. And eventually, it was my depression that prompted me to pursue what I now believe is my calling, writing.
Thank you, Jesus, for knowing better than to instantly heal me as I so often begged you.