Sunday, March 19, 2006

I Can Only Imagine

I can only imagine
What it will be like
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

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
I can only imagine
When that day comes
And 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

Lyrics By Bart Millard

The lyrics grew out of a period of tremendous personal pain. In 1991, his father died after a long battle with cancer. When people told him that his dad would choose heaven over coming back, the 18-year-old began thinking about what his dad was experiencing in heaven. After that, he found himself repeating the phrase "I can only imagine." He began writing it on napkins, paper bags, and anything he could find. The phrase resonated in his heart and gave him the strength and hope he needed to move on.

Somehow, wondering about that awesome moment when he too would lay eyes on the Lord helped dull the pain of losing his father. This isn't a permanent separation, he told himself. One day we'll be enjoying God's presence together.

Years later, in 1999, when Mercy Me was writing songs for its freshman project, Millard stumbled across that simple phrase—"I can only imagine"—in an old notebook. About ten minutes later, the song was written.

"People say it's amazing that it was written in ten minutes, when really it had been on my heart for almost ten years," Millard says. In fact, not many days go by that he still doesn't ask himself those questions that form the chorus of his song.

"I have faith that Christ is real," Millard adds. "Therefore, I ask him questions."


Hick said...

I've never heard that song, but it sure does reflect what I think about sometimes...especially after my mom's death from cancer in 1998. She had a deathbed conversion and now I get to see her again.

Thanks for that one.

jgf said...

When my mom was so ill is when it really started to mean something to me. I have discovered that the more I have invested in heaven the less I have interest in what is on earth.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

This is one of my very favorite songs!!!! I love it so much. And it was really neat to read the story behind it. Thanks!!

When my Pastor who I was very close to died this took on an extra meaning to me as well.

NEO, SOC said...

I really enjoy this song as well. It stands out as one of my favorites among those from Mercy Me. But, I also have many from Third Day, Jeremy Camp and such