Imagining the Impossible
- August 19, 2016
- Josh Godwin
My dad has worked my entire life in a steel fabrication shop, cutting and welding together heavy plates of steel to make other things. Why do I tell you this? Neither to offer my credentials in the “blue collar American” category nor to brag on my dad for being the hardest working person I know (even though I just snuck that in there). I tell you this because of a specific memory I have from childhood.
I remember when I was a little kid asking my dad every day if he would make me an Iron Man suit of my own. I LOVED Iron Man growing up and am currently reliving this phase of life with the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe being a thing. The 5-year-old still left in me was doing our best imitation of cartwheels during the whole Avengers movie. But the thought of having an unbreakable suit that I could fly around in was all I wanted in life. I wanted to put my Iron Man suit on and fly to school, to the store, to church, to all the places I would ever go.
Clearly I was still working out the difference between reality and fantasy at that point in life, as all children do. And my naïve innocence as a child compelled me to beg my dad over and over again to make me that Iron Man suit. Even when his incredible patience grew thin and he wouldn’t give me an immediate response, I kept asking and kept asking. I count myself lucky every day that I had a Dad who allowed me to be imaginative and let my childhood soar free of the boundaries of adulthood.
But as I reflect on that episode of life and my insistence in asking my dad for something impossible, I am struck by how incredible of an imagination that must have taken. What if we who have turned aside on childhood dreaming could recapture that innocence in imagination? What if we could remember what it was like to yearn for the impossible and want something that everyone else says can’t happen?
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus talks a lot about little children, telling others how they should not be led away from him and how they are the examples of how to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Sure he’s talking about humbling oneself to the place of a child, but what if that also meant having a childlike faith and letting our imaginations about what that could mean run wild? Faith could do incredible things with the right amount of imagining the impossible and believing it could really be true!
Bob Goff, author of the best-selling book Love Does, puts it like this: “Take your imagination about what you could do with your faith off the no fly list.” What if we took our faith and rekindled a little spark of imagination with it? What impossible thing would you imagine with your faith? We’re shown over and over again in the Bible that God can and does do impossible things. What if we had the imagination to match our faith in that impossibility?
The Kingdom of God seems a more impossible thing to imagine with each passing day. A Kingdom that is perfect in grace and love doesn’t jive with the world around us that is perpetually hurting and suffering. It may take some childlike imagination to see what that Kingdom might look like. It may take the naivety of a child to believe that in the midst of all the suffering there is an impossible possibility for perfect goodness. But this shouldn’t be a surprise, because Jesus tells us that the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to people with the imagination and the faith to see it for all its incredible wonder.