By Minister Judy Stack
Have you ever dreamed of something? Have you ever imagined something very dear, and then thought about what it would be like if it was actually coming true for you? Maybe it’s a job you always wanted. Perhaps you hoped for many years to have children. Or dreamed about the time when you could retire or be able travel or be free to pursue some things you love.
What if it actually happened!?! What if your dreams came true?
We often talk about how difficult it is to deal with disappointment, but have you ever had to face the prospect of God blessing you in a way you barely hoped to dream of? How would this overturn your world? Have you ever thought, “God, I know this is what I wanted, but now that it’s here, I’m terrified!”
Beyond that even: What if God, in fact, wanted to give us MORE than we were asking for?
On Sunday, Pastor Jeff preached about the story from John where Jesus said to those he had recently miraculously fed, “I tell you the truth, you are looking for me not because you saw signs but because you ate your fill” (6:26). As Pastor noted, what’s going on here is not that people want something too miraculous from Jesus but actually that they want too little. They want only enough Jesus to meet their obvious physical needs. Just enough to get by. They don’t want to be disturbed or confronted or challenged. They want an easy Jesus. They don’t want to be swept up into the whirlwind of the coming of the kingdom of God that Jesus’ signs herald.
This made me think of what Paul says to the early Christian community in Ephesus. He is telling them about what he prays for them. He makes some bold requests of God! He prays four things:
But then he goes on to say, “Now to God who by the power at work within us is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations” (Eph. 3:20-21). While we may think Paul’s expecting a lot, Paul is saying, “Even my vision is too small! God’s vision for you is even bigger than what I just prayed! It is beyond what we could ask or imagine.”
This is what Jesus was saying too. God wants to do more in you and through you, by the power of God’s spirit, than you are prepared for. More even than you may think you want! Because change is scary; it takes courage—whether it is a dream coming true or those places in us and through us where God’s spirit starts to work and the Kingdom starts to come. And we are “filled with all the fullness of God.”
Jesus and Paul invite us to dream and pray and ask and imagine bigger! Big enough to scare us. Because God is able and wants to do “exceeding abundantly above all we can ask or imagine.” And in that we will experience “the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge.”