A quick word on Christian imagination: In what is one of my favorite phrases in the Old Testament, Psalm 126 says, “When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream” (emphasis mine). We were like those who dream.
Because of their disobedience, these slaves made a people were cast out of the land of promise, ravaged by their enemies, demeaned, humiliated, slaughtered. The temple- where the glory of God had dwelt- was destroyed, the holy items pillaged. Tossed aside and forsaken by the God they had made angry, Israel was destitute and beyond hope.
And then, after 70 years, God restored their fortunes. The people returned to the land. The temple rebuilt. A new Son of David on the throne. Jerusalem’s wall restored. Is this a dream? Even better- no one could have dreamt this.
In the New Testament it gets better still: God’s wrath taken away forever, a new covenant written on our hearts, inducted into the divine life, an heir of the glory of God, the promise of eternity in the presence of the Lord, etc. It seems like it never ends.
Paul gets this. After praying for the Ephesians, that they would “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” and “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19), he closes with this number: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20)- far more abundantly? What’s more abundant than knowing that which surpasses knowledge, or being filled with that which cannot be contained by heaven and earth? Now who’s dreaming? That’s quite an imagination you’ve got, Paul.
I think Christian imagination is good and necessary. After all, whatever God is going to do, it will surpass our wildest imagination, put our dreams to shame. God is in the habit of surprising his people like that. Moreover, exercising the imagination properly will teach us to expect big things of God, and to look for him to work. It will teach us to be amazed at what he does. And when God does something other than we expect, imagining will be taught by reality and become bigger yet- something on the scale of, Wow! I didn’t even know I could think that big!
So dream big dreams, pray impossible prayers, and think crazy thoughts. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at what the Lord does.