[Kris Camealy is very cheerful on Twitter. Maybe it's because she takes a week off the internet every month, a practice I am sort of desperate to imitate. I was thrilled when she agreed to contribute a guest post for Story Warren. She is a wife, mom, and the author of Holey, Wholly, Holy: A Lenten Journey of Refinement. She blogs here and cheerfully declares, "I love Jesus. I love people. I love pointing people to Jesus." Thanks, Kris. -Sam]
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She comes up gasping, sputtering and choking, bathwater spraying out of her mouth. I run to her with a towel, pulling her up by her slippery armpits, out of the tub. This is nothing new here. Despite our sternest insistence that she not put her face into the dirty bathwater, she repeats this activity somewhat relentlessly. Every time I read the warnings about small children drowning in practically, puddle-amounts of water, I recognize how this is actually possible.
However, tonight, she isn’t drowning (thank God) but merely trying to swim as fish do, including, apparently, aquatic respiration. Sigh. With her towel-toga wrapped tightly around her, I haul her dripping, to her room and begin the dry her off. Her green eyes, rimmed red from coughing.
What were you doing? I question her. You know you’re not supposed to do that, you CAN’T Breathe underwater.
Her brows furrow and she answers, with all seriousness, Well how come sharks can breathe underwater?
Is she serious?
I glance at my husband, we both shake our heads in unison, and I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to laugh about the fact that my 3 year old doesn’t understand the differences between herself and a shark, or if I ought to be concerned about the apparent confusion.
Have I not been clear about the fact that we are humans, rather than fish? My homeschooling abilities are suddenly looking utterly lame. Perhaps the end measure of success will be less about how well my children can remember world history, grammar, or math, and more about whether or not they understand that they are in fact, created in the image of God, as a human.
I make a mental note to re-read her the Creation story.
Sharks were designed by God to breathe underwater. I remind her (because I am certain we’ve discussed this before). Sharks have gills to filter oxygen out of the water. You, on the other hand, were designed to breathe only air. You, sweet thing, have no gills.
She is unhappy about her human limitations, and while I can see how aquatic respiration would be a cool superpower, I feel confident that our human abilities far outweigh anything a shark can do. Yes–I am absolutely certain.
Later, after my little fish is long in bed, I think about our conversation. The absurdity of it strikes me as both funny and endearing. Children’s imaginations are so much freer than most of ours. For them, the line between reality and imaginary is blurred–hazy with possibilities that as grown-ups, we are all too quick to shout down–what, with all of our wisdom and worldly knowledge.
We’ve grown so good at erecting fences between the possible and impossible. We see what is real and concrete, while the hood of experience limits our vision into the mysterious realm of, with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26).
Surely this word doesn’t mean that God will affix us with gills, but then again, Jonah lived three days in the belly of a fish.
What happens when we allow ourselves to imagine beyond what seams reasonably possible? What could we do, if we believed that with God, all things are in fact possible? Might our prayers become more absurd to humans but more powerful in the heavenly realms? Might we see miracles on a grander scale not only because they are already happening, but because we believe that God makes a habit of performing impossible tasks–not because He must–but simply because He can (Jeremiah 32:17).
Scripture tells us wild tales of talking donkeys, and dead men rising. Bread falls from heaven and entire seas split wide, allowing passage across dry land. Bones gather across a desert valley enfleshed and breathing–a whole army. Fisherman’s nets bulge when just moments before they sat empty. One boy feeds 5000 from only his small lunch. These are the well known impossibles made possible, but there are more. We all carry stories with us of the unexplained. Still, we often try to rip the miraculous from them, with our grow-up reasoning and our failure to remember that with God, all things are possible.
Jesus tells us to have faith like a child, and what is faith but the belief in the unseen–the seemingly impossible. My children expand my own imagination with their amazing belief that anything is possible. My faith widens when I recall the miracles of God. Tumor’s that disappear without a trace. The impossibly lost, suddenly recovered out of nowhere. With God, all things are possible.
May we believe as children, may our reality be blurred just enough to believe that God is the God who works wonders, just as it says in Psalm 77:14
You are the God who works wonders…
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Featured images cut from Jonah Leaving the Whale by Jan Brueghel the Elder, (1600)