Imagination is a great thing. It has served me well over the years and has made my life so much more enjoyable. In my imagination I am still a twenty-something young woman…until I look into that mirror and see a mature woman looking back. In my imagination I am a good singer….until I open my mouth and sound comes out. In my imagination I have the abilities of a well-honed athlete…..until I actually attempt anything physical. In my imagination I can still dance and look really good doing it….until I see what those body contortions really look like. In my imagination I am an excellent cook….until I remember that my husband kindly called my hamburger casserole “hamburger cruddy.” I got so good at hamburger cruddy that I’ve developed a whole repertoire of dishes – chicken cruddy, tuna cruddy, and Mexican cruddy to name a few. If you want a cruddy dish, I can make it! Oh, yes, I do enjoy my imagination – flawed though it may be.
I also like to imagine what it will be like when I will finally get to see Jesus and experience eternity. I love the song by Mercy Me “I Can Only Imagine” because it fills my mind with awe and wonder of being able to experience the fullness of God’s glory and grace. Every now and then we get to have a glimpse of exactly how amazing and overwhelming that encounter with the living Holy God will be. I had such a glimpse this last week at the LaGrave SERVE project. Permit me to try to describe it to you so you can imagine it with me.
Try to imagine the unifying power of God as about 130 adults and teenagers come together from across the United States and Canada. They arrived as strangers, but left as brothers and sisters in Christ with friendships that will transcend miles and even countries. The sense of belonging and oneness still warms my heart and gives me a small glimpse of what heaven will be like when people of every nation, tribe and tongue gather to dwell in the presence of our Father God. I can only imagine the feelings of belonging and acceptance that will fill our souls.
Try to imagine the power of sacrificial giving as literally hundreds of additional volunteers gave of their time, energy, talents, and money to help serve the servants. Such selflessness humbles me, inspires me, and causes my imagination to explode with ideas of how to give more of myself. I can only imagine how wonderful it will be someday when every person is fed, when everyone has adequate housing, when all diseases are eradicated, when we live at peace with all peoples – all because one God/man, Jesus Christ, sacrificially gave Himself to die in our place. It’s hard to imagine the love that drove Him to give such a sacrifice.
Try to imagine prayer servants so gifted in the spiritual discipline of intercessory prayer that they call down the Holy Spirit in such a way that the whole worship space is awash in God’s power and glory. Imagine seeing teens and adults as excited about singing and worship as they are about going to a sporting event. It was awe-inspiring! Now try to imagine being in heaven with all the angels and the saints that have gone before us together singing, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts! Heaven and earth are filled with your glory!” I can only imagine the beautiful music we will make together.
Try to imagine the truly awesome privilege of getting to pray with someone as they accept Jesus Christ as their Savior. That event is so momentous all the angels in heaven rejoice that another of God’s children has come home. There is no way to put into words what that instant is like. It truly takes your breath away as it makes you want to drop to your knees in humility and gratitude to be present at such a holy moment. It makes me yearn to be a part of the crowd welcoming home formerly lost souls. I can only imagine how glorious that will be.
I hope you are beginning to imagine a little bit of heaven right here on earth because that is what I felt last week. I am still filled with awe and wonder as I contemplate how great our God is!! Then I remember the words of Chris Tomlin’s song “God of This City” which say, “greater things are yet to come…” and my mind begins to imagine again, but is overwhelmed by how wonderfully, amazingly, marvelously glorious it is going to be.
One last time, I ask you to let your imagination soar as you read these words from Revelation 21:3-5a, “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’” I can only imagine!!!