Have you ever had a song that stuck with you? A song that resonated with you so much that you wanted to listen to it over and over again? “I Can Only Imagine” is that kind of song for millions of people, including myself. Whenever I have trials in life, whenever Susan has another heart surgery, whenever work overwhelms me, whenever my back pain becomes unbearable, it gives me great peace to reflect on the lyrics:
I can only imagine what my eyes will see
When your face is before me…
Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel?
The song, written by Bart Millard, the lead singer of MercyMe, reminds me that the suffering in this life is temporary and one day my heart will be free of strife and filled with infinite joy in His presence. What I didn’t know was the real, not so beautiful, story behind the song, a story about something I have a great deal of passion for—fatherhood.
Bart had a difficult childhood because his father was abusive. His mother loved him but could not continue in the relationship with his father and so she left when Bart was still a boy. Bart stayed only as long as he had to; he finished high school and set out on his own as a musician. He never wanted to see his father again.
God had other plans. The story is one of redemption and the song is one of joy. Bart wrote the song pondering what his father saw as The Father welcomed him home. In this podcast, I have the opportunity to discuss Bart’s story, now a movie, with him. The I Can Only Imagine movie is a great inspiration to me of how it is never too late to love God and our children well.
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I Can Only Imagine, coming out in theaters March 16th.
Growing up in Texas, Bart Millard suffers physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his father. His childhood and relationship with his dad inspired him to write the hit song “I Can Only Imagine” as a singer of the Christian band MercyMe.
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