My second son has a pretty vivid imagination. When he gets that glazed-over look and stares at the same spot on the wall for 5 minutes, you can tell he has departed Earth. This is a much appreciated attribute when it comes to church… he is the one kid of our four who we don’t have to arm-wrestle or give the death-look to in order for him to quit squirming. But aside from me appreciating how his imagination can make my life circumstantially easier at times, I will probably admit that I have at best been indifferent to his tendency to “space-out,” much less seeing any redemptive value in it. Until I spent a few minutes one day chewing on Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV):
20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Have you ever stopped to really consider what Paul is saying here? He is saying that our imaginations, your son’s imagination, the one that we sometimes put up with, sometimes get annoyed by but seldom encourage or celebrate, has huge implications for his view of God. We see the goal in verse 21, that the glory and greatness of God be lifted high in the church and in Christ through every person, young and old, through every time. But in between his opening introduction of who he is talking about at the beginning of verse 20, “Now to him” and the resumption of that thought where Paul picks back up at the beginning of verse 21 with “to him” we see a parenthetical statement that Paul inserts to tell us two things about the “him” that he is referring to.
First, Paul says that God’s power is beyond anything we can ask or think. It is easy for me to see limits to what I can ask. But Paul says that God’s power is infinitely beyond (far more abundantly) anything I can think. That means that whatever my son can imagine God having the power to do, He cannot just do more, but infinitely more. What would sitting with your son for 15 minutes do, if you were to spend time encouraging him to imagine with you all that God could do and then affirm that He can do even more, way more, than all that you two have just come up with? Oh how the Spirit could use that time of imagination to increase your son’s vision of God! And as your son’s vision of God grows, so will his fear, love, joy, reverence, and hope in that same big God. But Paul didn’t stop there!
Second, Paul tells us that this same infinitely-beyond-our-imagination power that God has, is the power that is inside of us working! I can imagine some pretty amazing things that God can do. I can imagine the power it would take to make a galaxy, the might it would take to create a supernova, the strength it would take to not just create but control a black hole. The power required to do all of these things is way beyond me, but it’s not even a fraction of the power of God. And that very same power is at work in my son. That very same power is at work in me. That is some crazy power flowing through us! How can those realizations and thoughts not result in the glory of God being exalted through the people of God for all time!
So dads, the next time you son is off in la-la-land, resist the temptation to call him back to the “real world,” and instead engage him in some God-exalting, hope-inducing, fear-creating, imagination-utilizing discussions about His power and greatness and with the hope and expectation that the Spirit will use that God-given gift of imagination to exalt the glory of God in the life your son!