Mack and Jesus were having an interaction around Mack’s walking across the lake, literally. Like Peter, Jesus wanted Mack to walk on water.
Mack, in his skepticism and nerves replied, “What am I afraid of?”
“Well, I am afraid of looking like an idiot. I am afraid that you are making fun of me and that I will sink like a rock. I imagine that . . .”
Jesus replied, “Exactly! You imagine. Such a powerful ability, the imagination! That power alone makes you so like us. But without wisdom, imagination is a cruel task- master. If I may prove my case, do you think humans were designed to live in the present or the past or the future?”
Imagination is indeed a powerful thing.
What do you use your imagination for?
Me? On good days I imagine things like, “Imagine if we had a food truck! Imagine if we were actively engaged in a local homeless shelter, like New Story in Winston Salem! Imagine if the medical clinic in Uganda were up and running! Imagine if every person that comes to West brings a friend! Imagine if folks at West want a downtown Mooresville campus! Imagine . . .”
Sometimes I imagine what it will be like when I vacate with my family. That’s a sacred time/space for me, so when I am in “dreary” mode, I go there in my imagination.
BUT – there are other imaginative times as well.
Sometimes I do things like I shared in worship a few weeks ago. When things “feel” bad, and icky situations happen one after another, my mind goes to dark places. (Note I said “feel” – not necessarily “are!”) I imagine that people don’t like me. I imagine that next Sunday all the seats will be empty and everyone will have found a new church. I imagine we won’t be able to get sponsors for Bash.
I imagine . . .
When I do this imaging, rarely do I stop and take into account, “Where is God?”
When Jesus was discussing with Mack his imagination of the future he pointed out that Mack rarely, if ever, envisioned the future with Jesus.
Mack concurred. He spent a lot of time worrying about the future, and in his imagination, it was gloomy and depressing, if not outright horrible. And who can blame him, right? His daughter was dead. That makes is hard to imagine anything with joy.
BUT – in none of his thoughts of the future did Mack put Jesus there with him. In each thought, he was going it alone. Jesus went on to explain that he did that because it was his desperate attempt to gain some control over something he could have no control over.
“You try to play God, imagining the evil that you fear becoming reality, and then you try to make plans and contingencies to avoid what you fear.
Yet – the person who lives by his fears will not find freedom in my love.
What if we use our imaginations for good?
What if, when our minds go ahead to the future and worry about the potential “worst things” we immediately picture Christ with us, Christ before us, Christ behind us, and Christ in us?
No plans and contingencies are needed when we don’t imagine fear.
Jeremiah 29:11The Message (MSG)
10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out-plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.