I’ve been looking at the blinking cursor and realize my words are inadequate. What do I say to convince all of you that this movie is essential for your soul too? It is like the song—anointed. And trust me, I am careful about using that word. If you have heard the song, you know it is special—it was the first time you heard it. Now, having seen the movie, I understand why.
The song is a celebration of the redemption Bart Millard saw in the life of a man he thought of as a monster: his father. But don’t think the movie is too sad or too sappy. This might be the best faith-based movie I have ever seen. It is an honest, genuine story about real people and the amazing power of God to redeem anyone. You will find yourself somewhere in the cast. All of us are imperfect, even if we aren’t evil. So is everyone God uses in the movie and in life.
This movie is about God and all he is capable of doing through the prayers and compassion of regular people like you and me. It is also a challenge to all of us to get involved in the lives of other people so we can share in the joy of their redemption. Most Christians are a product of the “ministry of many.” But, in each of our lives, there is likely a handful who made us one of their sheep for a time, and God called them to strengthen and invest in our journey.
One of the things I loved the most about this movie is that no one person is responsible for leading Bart to a place of redemption and no one person is responsible for his dad’s journey either—unless that one person is Christ, using many people as his witness.
The song title is “I Can Only Imagine.” Imagine entering heaven and seeing Jesus face-to-face. How do you think you will react? At that moment, the hope you have carried through this life becomes reality. The song asks, “Will you fall on your knees or will you dance?” I imagine doing both—over and over again.
Imagine looking around and seeing people you have known in this lifetime. There are family, friends, Bible teachers, pastors, neighbors, and some you realize you lost track of over time. There will also be some you never thought would choose Christ as their Savior. All of us will be amazed, awed, gladdened, and overwhelmed with the goodness and glory that surrounds us.
Imagine never being afraid, never being sick, never being sad, and never being sinful. And no one else you see is either. I can only imagine.
Bart Millard is the product of a mom who loved him but left him. He is the son of a man who loved him and stayed in Bart’s life, but as a terrible abuser. But Bart is also the product of a grandma who loved him, a teacher who invested in him, friends who gave him Christian love and a place to belong, and a God who adopted him as his child.
Redemption is a journey, not a moment. Redemption isn’t finished even though it’s final. Redemption is enough for this life even though it isn’t fully received until the next one. Redemption means joy for our journey.
I imagine the little boy who was abused by his dad but loved by the church will go down in history as one of the finest and most successful Christian songwriters. But Bart Millard knows that Jesus is the real author of his story and his talent. The movie works hard to make sure the audience understands that truth as well.
I love the song, I love the movie, and I love Jesus for writing this story for us—through a boy from Greenville, Texas. Take as many people as you can and see this movie. I promise you will leave with a full heart and a stronger conviction about the way Christian life is supposed to work.
How good is this movie? Well, I stared at the blinking cursor for a while and then started typing. Twenty minutes later, I’m ready to type amen.