As I listened to the words, emotion overwhelmed me. The songwriter asked questions I’d only pondered before. What would it be like to stand before Jesus for the first time? To see His glory. Behold Him? Would I be able to stand? Dance? Sing? Or would I crumble? Would I be able to speak?
I was overcome. The singer had pierced me with his poignancy, made me take a look at truths I’d kept at bay. I didn’t forget the song’s effect on me.
Spring forward to 2018 and the movie, I Can Only Imagine, appeared in theaters. I was surprised. A movie carried the same title as the song I’d heard two decades before. A movie based on a song? What was up with that?
Of course, I couldn’t know the story behind the song. Or that the songwriter had endured a childhood of trauma. I couldn’t fathom the neglect, the abuse, or the abandonment one young man managed to survive and yet emerged whole on the other side. I only remembered how the words had impacted me before. How I had been changed by his honesty.
A writing friend of mine says that an author touches her readers most when she holds out her arm as if opening a vein and lets it bleed. Readers react to reality, to truth, to passion. They come away transformed because the author allows them to see into a soul—the agony, the struggle, the sorrow.
God has allowed us a glimpse of His despair when He sent his only son Jesus to the cross. He had to stand by while his beloved son was nailed to a cross, hoisted into the air to bleed to death, and taken down at sunset to be placed in a borrowed tomb.
In God’s word, the Bible, John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.”
What a price He paid to redeem me.
I Can Only Imagine.