I recently watched the movie “I Can Only Imagine.” It’s a wonderful movie about a wonderful song by the same name. I did not want to watch it at first because I felt it would be too emotional for me (I worried the plot would hit too close to home for me on account of my own painful childhood experiences). However, it only inspired me, because it reminded me of how awesome our Father in heaven is!
The movie is based on the true story of a young man, Bart Millard, who grew up in Greenville, Texas. Bart’s mother walked out on him and his dad after they divorced when he was 3 years old. Bart suffered emotional and physical abuse at the hands of his father.
Many times the young boy thought his dad was going to kill him. In an interview, Bart said of his upbringing: “I ended up living in fear for most of my childhood… If he got embarrassed or cut off in traffic or whatever, he would take a swing at me… I was like his punching bag.” Bart grew up like that with no family support.
Then when he was a freshman in high school, things took a drastic turn for Bart. His dad became terminally ill with cancer, which caused him to repent of his ways and find God. Bart and his dad mended their relationship.
Millard took care of his dad and literally became his nurse. It was his dad’s new faith in God that transformed his life. “That’s when things really changed, because it went from us really not having much contact to talking for two or three hours every night until we fell asleep,” he says.
“I got a front row seat to see this guy go from being a monster to falling desperately in love with Jesus,” Millard says. “By the time he passed away when I was a freshman in college, not only was he my best friend, he was like the godliest man I’d ever known. And it’s literally changed the trajectory of my life.”
Years later Bart Marshall Millard became a songwriter who is best known as the leader of the band MercyMe. He wrote the song, “I Can Only Imagine,” which is the best-selling contemporary Christian single of all time. You can read more of his inspiring story here. The movie is worth watching as it explores the themes of forgiveness and healing.
How many of us have gone through tough times and we hope for things to change? Alternatively, we may even think the phrase, “I can only imagine…”.
The truth is, God is your hope!
God is and was my hope. God was Bart’s hope. God was his dad’s hope that transformed him before he died so he could be the father he never could have been on his own. And God transformed a severely abused young Bart into someone who totally trusts Him, going on to write songs that worship Him and encourage others. God is our healer!
He is our Father who loves us so much! The movie inspired me because I know my Father in heaven brought me through so much just like Bart. And He is still there with me every day. But He is not just my Father, He is a Father to all of us! He will love you when you feel no one else does. He has the power to deliver you from whatever you are going through.
Our world is broken. There is so much pain and suffering. Our world is in need of intervention that only God can give. Psalm 147 says: “ He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. The LORD sustains the humble but casts the wicked to the ground … His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior; the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love” (Psalms 147:3-6 Psalms 147:3-6 3 He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds.
4 He tells the number of the stars; he calls them all by their names.
5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
6 The LORD lifts up the meek: he casts the wicked down to the ground.
American King James Version×, Psalms 147:10-11 Psalms 147:10-11 10 He delights not in the strength of the horse: he takes not pleasure in the legs of a man. 11 The LORD takes pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
American King James Version×). I encourage you to read the whole chapter of Psalm 147.
“I can only imagine” what a world will be with God in charge. The great news is it will happen! I earnestly pray for His Kingdom to come when ”He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4 Revelation 21:4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
American King James Version×).