“I Can Only Imagine.” I loved this song when it came out. Now the Christian movie by the same name has been released. In my Spring movie review “tradition,” I would like to recommend this one for your viewing. In time for the Easter season, the film explores themes of forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation. The song it’s based on is the number one selling Christian song of all time, and the movie has received high grossing sales.
The movie explores the backstory of how the song came to be. Featuring veteran actor Dennis Quaid, and newcomer J. Michael Finley, we learn about the personal journey which led songwriter and singer Bart Millard, of the music group Mercy Me, to write this song. Bart’s experiences are heartbreaking and tragic. While the viewer might not have had the same painful experiences, I found myself relating to the themes of hurtful family situations in the past which resonate deeply.
While the movie depicts some difficult issues, there are moments of gentle humor which keeps it from being too depressing or hopeless. We are reminded that our pain may serve God’s ultimate purpose. When the song became a hit, countless people wrote letters of testimony to the group of how the song ministered to them or touched them in a significant way.
Certainly, I don’t have a musical bone in my body, but I can think of a few challenging experiences in my life which at the time, I certainly didn’t appreciate as useful for God’s ultimate purpose in my life. Perhaps you can, too. It’s part of the human experience, that at some point we will encounter a tragedy, confront a painful past, or go through an incredible challenge which takes every ounce of courage and strength we can muster. I hear others’ stories of victory and resilience, and I ponder, how do they do it? But somehow, we all have it in us, to survive these situations that one can only imagine are possible to survive. I’m not sure I can testify it’s “easier” with God, but there is a source to draw from for comfort, peace, and meaning.
So why do I find this song so impactful? It provides hope and optimism. It reminds us that we have a future, and it’s going to be amazing. As we celebrate this Resurrection season, we may even ponder our own reunion with God…not in a morbid way, but in deep reassurance that what waits for us is unfathomable. When I first heard the following lyrics, it sung to my
very soul, imagining just what that moment would be like:
Surrounded by your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for You, Jesus
Or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in your presence
Or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah
Will I be able to speak at all
I can only imagine