Bible Verse: But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ. Philippians 3:20

Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:19-20

One of the best-selling Christian songs of all time, and the inspiration behind a hit feature film starring Dennis Quaid, almost didn’t happen.

Originally written for MercyMe’s 1999 album, The Worship Project, the song, I Can Only Imagine, came to lead singer Bart Millard after reflecting on the passing of his father, Arthur.

The imagery of passing into eternity and walking into the presence of God was immediately powerful, and hit a nerve with listeners, simultaneously launching the band to the top of the charts.

However, the iconic song was only a last-minute entry to fill out the final empty spot on the album.

The breakthrough came at the end of the production phase during a late night on a tour bus when Millard found an old notebook with the scribbled phrase: I can only imagine. This phrase sparked his imagination, and soon he was thinking about his father.

Then he started writing.

But there was a lot to digest. Millard’s relationship with his dad was rocky from the start, as Arthur was known to be physically violent with his family. Despite the abuse, Millard kept in contact with his father.

When his father was diagnosed with cancer, he began taking steps to make amends for his past and started attending church and reading the Bible. Millard was 18 when his father passed away, but the two had forged a strong relationship.

In an interview with People Magazine, Millard says, “I got a front-row seat to see this guy go from being a monster to falling desperately in love with Jesus. 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.”

Ten minutes after starting to write on that dark road in a tour bus, Millard had finished, I Can Only Imagine.

The song is not only a celebration of faith becoming sight and the joy that awaits us in our heavenly home, but it is also a story of a repaired relationship: our relationship restored between ourselves and God, but in Millard’s case, it also speaks of the restoration of his relationship with his earthly father.

Are there severed relationships in your life? Do you feel the pain and loss of a friendship or love that has been cut off?

Know that there is hope, because our God is a God of restoration and renewal, making broken things whole again.

But first, you need to hope again. First, you need to imagine.

I can only imagine
What it would be like
When I walk by your side.
I can only imagine
What my eyes would see
When your face is before me.
I can only imagine.

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?
To my knees will I fall?
Will I sing hallelujah?
Will I be able to speak at all?

I can only imagine.
When that day comes,
When I find myself
Standing in the Son,
I can only imagine.
When all I will do
Is forever, forever worship you,
I can only imagine.

— Steven Sukkau, Promise Keepers Canada

Copyright © 2020 Promise Keepers Canada. All rights reserved.

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