“I reveal 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.” – Isaiah 65:1-2
Have you ever stopped to think about the power of a child’s imagination? They use whatever is in their surroundings to create hours and hours of fun. This doesn’t occur by accident, a child’s imagination is like a muscle that must be exercised in order to be developed to its full potential - too much electronic media or games will weaken a child’s imagination. Less you think an imagination is lost when you leave childhood, it is the imagination of some that allow them to be successful inventors, scientists, managers, CEOs, bishops, pastors, and church officers.
The ability to imagine is yours for a lifetime. The only difference between the imagination of children and those of adults is that too many adults restrict their imagination to the point that it isn’t an asset to them any longer. But you are different because every person in this sanctuary is using their imagination. Let me explain what I mean. No one has ever seen God, yet you are here in this sanctuary to worship God. You are here because you have imagined what your lives would be like without God and Jesus in them, and you don’t like what comes to mind. You are here worshipping because God revealed Himself to you in very personal ways even before you had the sense to ask God for that revelation. You are here worshipping because God continues to reveal Himself to you on a daily basis; God does so because He knows that human beings need frequent experiences of His revelations and love to keep from going astray. It is through the revelation of God that you experience the fullness of who God created you to be. The beauty of God’s revelation of Himself is that it was initiated by God. In spite of all that humans know and can do, no human can force God to do anything including revealing Himself. Let’s be clear about two things: 1. God revealing Himself to you is an act of God’s supreme love, and 2. revealing and loving are gifts that God has freely given humanity, gifts that humanity doesn’t deserve. Remember what v. 2 says, “all day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations.”
It is not that having an imagination is bad. What gets people into trouble with God is how people use their imaginations. The murderer in Orlando who killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 used his imagination for evil. The murders in Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, Dallas and Nice were carried out by persons who used their imagination for evil. The Pennsylvania man who held those girls captive and repeatedly raped the oldest girl fathering 2 children by her is an example of someone who used his imagination for evil. Rather than using your imagination for such horrors, God would have adults use their imagination like children do, to create something that increases and even stretches your potential. Children don’t image themselves to be mediocre persons; children always imagine themselves to be grand individuals with great success, tremendous skills, and incredible wealth.
God says to you, “Here am I, here am I!” In saying this God reveals Himself to you in ways that should cause you to imagine yourself as grand individuals with great success, tremendous skills, and incredible wealth. God wants you to know that you have the Holy Spirit within you, and consequently, you are limited only by what you imagine, or fail to imagine, God using you to do. God doesn’t use the yardstick of humanity to gauge your success, your skills, or your wealth. Instead, God uses a spiritual yardstick or barometer to gauge your success, skills, and wealth. This spiritual barometer asks whether you are doing what God has laid on your heart to do in service to Him.
This spiritual barometer measures whether you are committed to the tasks that God has assigned your hands to do? This spiritual barometer measures whether you are satisfied doing what God has assigned your hands to do? This spiritual barometer gauges whether you receive more from your service than you give for this is the true measure of wealth?
Everything about God’s interaction with humanity shouts that God is committed to being in relationship with humanity. It was God who initiated the relationship that you enjoy; it was God who initiated the covenant that you depend on to experience God’s mercy rather than God’s judgment. If God were not committed to you, God would have thrown up God’s figurative hands long ago and left you on your own. Your life might not be exactly as you want, but God is still blessing you. God is your heavenly father; He tells you that you will have everything that you need. And like any good father, God tells you that He’s not going to give you everything that you want because to do so harms you, which is the last thing that God wants to do to you. God’s love for you sustains you in good times and in bad times because it is constant. Even when you are less than what God wants you to be, you can still count on God’s love for you. When you get a large dose of selfishness flowing through your body, and your mind is depleted of humility, God still loves you. When you get a large dose of self-centeredness flowing through your body, and your spirit is depleted of faithfulness, God still loves you. God’s love for you is constant no matter what state your mind or spirit is in. Because of your understanding of God, how constant God is in your life and how loving God is to you, many of you had to tell somebody what you experience; it’s like that gospel song performed by Andrea Crouch and several other popular gospel artists so aptly puts it, “you just had to tell somebody cause you couldn’t keep it to yourself.”
Think about the last time you tried to explain your love of God and church to a non-believer. Everything you said to explain your commitment, they took issue with. They thought your involvement in the church is a waste of time, that you could use your time more efficiently and more productively doing something, anything else. What made that encounter frustrating for you was that you wanted to convince the person that believing in God makes sense. But it doesn’t make sense, believing in God is a matter of faith. In the New English Translation (NET) Hebrews 11:1 says it this way, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.” You don’t have faith in God because of what you see; you have faith in God because of what you don’t see. You don’t see God, yet God is always there for you making a way out of no way, not sometimes but every day of your life. You have never seen God, yet you know God is real because you have experienced God’s real blessings day after day. It is a truism that believing in God doesn’t make sense. No, believing in God is a matter of faith, and that faith will sustain you no matter what life throws your way, you can surely count of your Father’s love.