I Can Only Imagine by ACHUCKAllen
The first time that I heard Mercy Me’s breakout triple platinum song was at a little boy’s funeral. Just two weeks prior to that, I’d been asked to come and anoint little Carter Martin with oil and pray for him in the Children’s Healthcare cancer ward. This kid was such a special little boy.
I recall sitting in that funeral for this great kid and was so saddened that I truly was moved beyond a touch of emotion. If there has ever been a what the heck moment for a pastor, it was this little boy and his family suffering.
I was jarred awake from my sad countenance as my wife leaned over to me and said she had heard that song on the radio and asked if I would be sure that it was sung at her memorial service. And sure enough, in just a few short months, Aaron Keyes played that song just before I preached her funeral.
My dear friend, Jay Strack, who had flown from London to be there for her service, only to get back on a plane and return with no rest asked if my daughters and I might want to escape for a few days before trying to figure out what we would do next. On our ride home from Orlando, “I Can Only Imagine” came on the radio. All three of us made the same motion to turn the radio off – it was just too soon.
Thirteen years later I’ve preached a few hundred funerals and heard the beautiful song sung in honor of a loved one or friend dozens of times. It no longer disturbs me to hear it. As a matter of fact, it comforts me. My life has been a seemingly never-ending series of challenges and heartaches. But I love my life! Jenny rescued my sorry behind in 2007, and Sugar Hill finished that process when they foolishly allowed me to become their pastor in 2011. I am at such a great place of peace and hope. A peace and a Hope that has completely changed the very nature of my being.
This evening, Jenny and I went to see “I Can Only Imagine.” I had pretty low expectations for yet another cheez-wiz Christian film. My expectations were completely blown away. After watching the story behind the song, I was no longer thinking the song as the funeral song that it had become to me. I saw and heard it as an offering of praise and hope.
Maybe you heard that beautiful song and equated it with a funeral song. If so, get to the theatres and see the film.
“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”