How many living things you have made, O Lord!
You have exhibited great skill in making all of them;
the earth is full of the living things you have made. (Psalm 104:24)
Have you experienced the Ark Encounter yet? I was excited to take an overnight field trip with our seven-year-old granddaughter, Khloe, over her spring break. We couldn’t wait for her to see Noah’s Ark, and I couldn’t wait to see it for myself.
Of course, it’s not the real one. Still, it blew my imagination when I saw the majestic, life-size replica built to biblical standards.
Before we left for the trip, I checked to make sure Khloe had packed a sweatshirt. When I opened her backpack, I fixed my eyes upon four baby food jars filled with discolored water. “What is this, Khloe?” I asked. She replied that they were four potions that she and her other grandma had made earlier that week. Thank goodness my jaw only figuratively dropped as she described her potions for “invisibility,” “sleep,” and two others I cannot recall.
I said to myself, “Here, my husband Ron and I are taking Khloe to expose her to all things biblical, and she brings Harry Potter potions and a magic wand. Is this trip going to be some cosmic battle over good versus evil?” I had my work cut out for me.
But I didn’t panic. I remembered my youth and how I role-played all the time. To this day, I still have that active imagination, though it’s more of a godly imagination now, I suppose. I dream about things like how amazed Noah must have been when the floods finally came. I imagine how he probably steadied the oil lamps as he made his daily inspection through the vessel, how he calmed the animals with a deep-sounding song of hope and promise, and most of all, how he got used to the smell of all that animal poop.
I don’t remember thinking of myself as a witch or wizard, like Khloe. Though I probably did. Disney had a run of Witch Mountain movies when I was young, and I regularly watched Bewitched. I do remember clearly that I was James Bond, and Dick Butkus, and Gilligan (although my siblings always made me the Skipper because my younger brother was so skinny). I was a hundred different cowboys, Indians, and army men. And I’m grateful that my parents never freaked out over my odd choice in imaginary alter-egos.
Don’t you think imagination is a gift from our great imaginative God? After all, imagination drives inspiration. It’s meant to spark wonder about our wonderful God. It allows us to take pen to paper, brush to canvas, or mind to heart—making much of him because of what we see all around us and what we read about him throughout Scripture.
Author Max Lucado said it this way about God’s imagination:
“God must’ve had a blast. Painting the stripes on the zebra, hanging the stars in the sky, putting the gold in the sunset. What creativity! Stretching the neck of the giraffe, putting the flutter in the mockingbird’s wings, planting the giggle in the hyena. And then, as a finale to a brilliant performance, He made a human who had the unique honor to bear the stamp, In His Image.”
I was able to talk to Khloe at the Ark Encounter and easily show her how creative and wonderful God is. We had a million created wonders to talk about as we ventured through the exhibits, rode a camel together, and ate ice cream.
Harry Potter is outmatched by our matchless creator who allowed us a glimpse into the past and gave us hope for the present and future.
“The soul without imagination is what an observatory would be without a telescope.”
(Abolitionist and clergyman, Henry Ward Beecher, 1813-1867)