There’s a painful, true story behind MercyMe singer Bart Millard’s hit “I Can Only Imagine,” which has become the best-selling Christian single of all time, selling 2.5 million copies, according to Nielsen Music.
When Millard was first approached with the idea of turning his life story into a movie, he never imagined it would go on to become a box-office hit. Based on his popular song of the same name, the movie “I Can Only Imagine,” which I really enjoyed, it tells the true story of Millard’s complicated relationship with his abusive father, played in the film by Dennis Quaid. Though it was a low-budget movie, it has made over $40 million since coming out in mid-March, and it continues to do strong business.
Millard’s song, which he performs with his band MercyMe, became a crossover success nearly 20 years ago. While the singer often speaks about the song’s backstory at his concerts, by telling of how he hated his dad, and how his dad beat him, drawing blood from his body, every time he would have a bad day. Millard said the thought of sharing the intimate details of his difficult childhood on the big screen was nerve-wracking at first, but after several years of therapy, he was much better by the time the movie actually hit theaters.
The lyrics say: “When I walk, by your side; I can only imagine what my eyes will see. When your face is before me; I can only imagine. 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. I can only imagine.”
This movie will give everyone hope, especially those of you who are experiencing pain from a loved one, whether it’s your spouse, your parents, or someone at a temporary home. Millard shares how he knows without doubt that if our Lord and Savior was able to bring about this radical change in his father, there is hope for anyone of us out there, no matter how bad they are or have been.
He declares what our Scriptures tell us, to “pray without ceasing,” never giving up hope, and definitely always be willing to forgive. The average person who issues anger by hitting, hurting, speaking harshly or whatever it is they do, is someone who is suffering from some type prior, similar situation. Usually in early childhood, someone did something similar to him or her.
As I visited with my family in Arizona, I noticed how my son-in-law believes that everything must be in its place, throughout his home. Though I, too, believe in a nice, clean home, never am I insisting that anyone hurry to clean. This is an example of those childhood problems that flow over into our adult lives. We can all live with this early childhood learning, but what about those who have experienced major, life-changing treatments?
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.