One of my favorite things to do in life is play with my son. If I happen to be the one who wakes up with him (which admittedly is rare as his mom usually bears that crack-of-dawn burden), then from the moment his feet hits the floor to when he has finished his milk, his mind is set on one thing: he and I playing superheroes. I don’t mean actual action figures like Wolverine, Gambit, Spiderman and the Avengers (though we play with those too). No, by superheroes Ian means any toy he can convert into one by way of his grand imagination. A car? Superhero. A lego figurine? Superhero. A lego? Superhero weapon. A monster truck? The “bad guy.” You get the point?
Ah yes, see thats what I love about my playing with my boy. Its his imagination, his ability to see beyond the mundane car or lego and see whats really there: potential to be something more. Its his ability to believe that there is more to that car than it’s perceived limitations. The car can talk, fly and shoot missiles out of its invisible guns.
His imagination doesn’t stop there. The superheroes have to accomplish a mission. We aren’t just aimlessly blowing stuff up (though there would be nothing wrong with that). No, we must accomplish something meaningful. Usually its the farm animals that need to be saved from their impending doom thanks to the evil “bad guy.” So we get after it. And of course, we win. Every time. Without fail.
Did I say that my son is also a theologian? You see, my son also teaches me about life and faith. These moments of play are no exception. I learn from the simplicity and pure joy he finds in just letting go and running wild with his imagination. It is as if there is no limit to his ability to believe. Oh how I wished there was no limit to my ability to believe; to believe in a God big enough to hold the universe within His hands, yet small enough to hold my little universe I call my life, within His hands. If only I had that kind of faith, one that sees beyond perceived limitations and into a world–a gospel drenched, grace saturated, Holy Spirit empowered, Christ ruled Kingdom reality and world–full of glorious possibilities. And every morning, noon or night I play with my son, I am reminded that I can. And I reminded that once I believe, I must accomplish something meaningful, just like our superheroes. It just takes faith. Child-like faith. Could this have been, at least in some small way, part of what Jesus meant in Matthew 18:3 when said,
“’I assure you,’ He said, ‘unless you are converted and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'”
Faith. Some say faith is a childish game. Well, Jesus says play on children. Play on like there is no tomorrow. Play on like there is nothing your Father in heaven can’t do. Sing, dance, run and jump, knowing that you live in the Kingdom of a King who never loses control or lets His Kingdom get in trouble. King Jesus knows what He is doing and He has invited you to get in on it.
But whatever you do, don’t play alone. Play with others who want to play, too. It is a lot more fun that way.