Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Can Only Imagine

Late Saturday morning, I sat in a church in a small, rural community with tears running down my cheeks.

I know I was not alone.

We celebrated the life of my dear friend Scott's dad on Saturday. His nearly year-long battle with leukemia ended last Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m. Just a couple of hours earlier another friend and I had prayed to God to throw the doors open and welcome Paul in - he did just that on Wednesday. Praise God!

Peace the passes all understanding is carrying the family left behind - a mother, a wife, two sons, a daughter and all of their families. Peace that comes from the blessed assurance that Paul is dancing with his creator in Heaven, that he is in a far better place where there is no more pain and suffering, continues to carry these amazing people of God.

But Saturday morning as I sat in that church pew with my wife and some friends along side, tears streamed down my face as the tune to the MercyMe song "I Can Only Imagine" began to play. Seated where I was, I could see Scott with his arm around his mother as they watched, listened and had to think about the words coming out of the soloists' mouth.

I sure did. Mine weren't tears of sadness, you see, but rather tears of rejoicing for Paul and wondering what it was like for him...what it will be like for me.

The lyrics to the song go something like this...

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, I can only imagine

Surrounded by your glory, what will my heart feel?
Will I dance for your 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!

I can only imagine when that day comes, when I find myself standing in the Son
I can only imagine, when all I would do, is forever, forever worship you
I can only imagine, I can only imagine!

I don't really spend a lot of time thinking about what Heaven will be like. Why not? I really don't know the answer to that question, but on this bitterly cold Saturday in the dead of winter (and again right now) I was thinking about it.

Will I stand or will I fall? Will I ever let go of that welcoming embrace when He flings the door open and reaches out His hand to me? Will I sing and praise without ceasing? Will I dance? (That would be a picture!) Will I sing and golf at the same time? What is everything going to look like? Will I fall to me knees in awe and amazement of everything?

To be surrounded by His glory - I can only imagine what that will be like!

And as I think about all of this today, with tears welling up in my eyes again at the thought, I can't help but think of the many, many others I know who think on these things - and those I know who don't. It is for these that I live - it is for these that we must bring along!

I got a little glimpse of Heaven in that church pew on Saturday, a glimpse of what Heaven will be like as I pictured some of those things in my mind. I thank God for times like these, when the pace slows and He reveals Himself to me.

I pray for more and more of these times, for more and more glimpses of what eternity is going to be like. These glimpses during this life is what John was talking about when he talked about having life and having it abundantly - when Heaven and earth collide and get us to start imagining what it will really be like!

Grace and Peace,



janelle said...

The lame will walk, the mute will talk, the one who always talks (me) will be silent, the runner will fall to her knees...okay, so I don't know but I just get this picture of me (the one always talking) laying down with my arms outstretched and God's glory circling all around me.

patty said...

There's a Sara Groves song called "What do I know" talks all about the stuff we don't know about heaven, but ends with the affirmation that "to be absent from this body means to be present with the Lord. And from what I know of Him, that must be very good." In the midst of all I don't know, I love thinking about the surety of being in His presence some day.

Billy Coffey said...

I just can't add any more to this post. It seems to say it all. So I'll just say an emphatic and heart-felt Amen.

Carol said...

At mom's funeral, we played "I can only imagine" as the family walked in. It as so moving. When I hear it now in the car, I turn it up full blast and try, try, try to imagine what it will be like and what it was like as mom left this earth. I know, know, know she is well, happy, healthy and whole and there waiting! Carol

Kay Martin said...

When I see anyone blind from birth or any other challenge I think of what they will "see" or do in Heaven.

Yes... I can only imagine.

Jennifer said...

Thank you, Chris. This is a blessing to read. I don't know what else to say.

Anonymous said...

Ever since I heard this song it has been one of my favorites. It really captures the essence of what meeting Jesus will, could be and might be like. Another person who sings this song is Wyonna Judd. It is absolutely gorgeous!

John said...

Awsome post. I often think about that day when the world is made anew without the corrupting influence of sin. I think back to the garden of Eden when Adam and God would just take a stroll together shooting the breeze. And to think that what we can imagine will be nothing even close to what it will be like. No wonder Paul said, "to die is gain".