“I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me; I was found by those who did not seek me. To a nation that did not call on my name, I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’  All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations—a people who continually provoke me to my very face…” – Isaiah 65:1-3

I was in a meeting this morning and a friend of mine said, “what would it be like if I had the imagination of God?”

 I think everyone at the table thought about that for a minute.

What would that be like? For me, Charlie Brown comes to mind. Remember A Charlie Brown Christmas? Charlie the Blockhead was excused from his responsibilities as director of the Christmas Pageant to go get a tree. It was busywork and an attempt to get him out of the way. (Actually, I thought he was doing a great job as director!) And as you may recall, he brought back a pathetic little Christmas tree that bent under the weight of a single ornament, shed needles at the slightest touch, and wasn’t even artificial like it was supposed to be. He left amid ridicule. What a blockhead! But after a while Linus remarked that it “maybe it wasn’t such a bad little tree after all,” and gave it some much-needed foundational support. The rest of the kids decorated it and it became beautiful.

Charlie Brown saw something in the tree that no one else did. He saw potential. He saw something that would respond when given the proper support, love and nurture. Imagination.

A potter may imagine a bowl when she holds a lump of clay in her hands. A sculptor may imagine a face when he beholds a lump of stone. A musician may imagine the form of an improvisational solo while in the middle of a song. In each case, the thing being imagined is already there, isn’t it? The bowl is just a lump of clay in a different shape. The sculpted face already exists—the rough bits just have to be removed to reveal it. And the key signature in place already contains all the notes that the musician will use to construct the solo.

Having the imagination of God is seeing the good and the beautiful but I think it’s more than that. It’s seeing the future, too. Do you know anybody who is the same today as they were twenty years ago? Of course not. But unlike us, God sees everything at once. He sees that the rough-around-the-edges young person will let Him smooth those spots out ten years from now. He sees that the unforgiving heart of today will become a forgiving heart after a few dozen trials. He sees the valorous in the same body that houses a coward.

If we could see with the imagination of God, we would not only see people as possessing the beauty with which they were created, we would see what they could become when given the same support as that little Christmas tree. It’s easy to get seduced by the shiny pink aluminum trees like the rest of the Peanuts cast. But when you look at people with the imagination of God, you’ll be more interested in what the skinny little needle-dropper can become. Maybe you’ll even wrap your own blanket around its trunk. There’s a name for that: discipling. And if you’re serious about discipling, God’s imagination will come in very handy, indeed!



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