Did you ever have an imaginary friend when you were little? I don’t think I ever thought of it, though if I had, since I tend to like an audience entirely too much, I think I would’ve preferred an imaginary entourage.
Either way, I’m wondering now if I really might’ve missed something. I can definitely see some advantages. Imaginary friends don’t get mad when you forget their birthdays—they don’t even have birthdays unless you want them to. They never interrupt and they don’t squish you if they sit on your lap. And by the way, when you go to Six Flags, your imaginary friend gets in totally free. They’re pretty quiet, though—not great conversationalists.
Isn’t it sad that a lot of people think of God as sort of an imaginary friend? They think of him when it suits them and how it suits them. But that’s no real concept of God. He could not be more real. He is the standard for “real.” He created everything we see—even us. And he’s not quiet. He speaks to us through his word. In Jeremiah 23:23-24 he says, “‘Am I only a God nearby,’ declares the LORD, ‘and not a God far away? Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the LORD. ‘Do not I fill heaven and earth?’ declares the LORD,” NIV.
The Message phrases the last question this way: “Am I not present everywhere, whether seen or unseen?”
No, he is no imaginary friend. And pondering his omni-presence is heavy thinking. It causes me to praise God all the more that his omni-presence comes with omni-power! And, if there’s such a word, omni-mercy.
And hey, I guess if there’s no such word, I can just imagine it.
Speaking of imagining, I met someone the other day with a longtime mentoring calling. He didn’t have an imaginary friend growing up. He had an imaginary protégé.