“Surrounded by Your glory
What will my heart feel
Will I dance for you Jesus
Or in awe of You be still”
In less than two weeks, one of the most anticipated Christian movies of all time, “I Can Only Imagine,” will be released. Based on the song of the same name by the group MercyMe, the movie follows the life of Bart Millard, author of the song.
The song, inspired by the death of Millard's father in 1999 when Bart was 18, considers what it would be like in Heaven and to stand before God. Millard began writing the words "I can only imagine" on items when he was thinking about his father.
The contemporary Christian and Christian rock band MercyMe first gained mainstream recognition with the crossover single "I Can Only Imagine" in 2001, which elevated their debut album, "Almost There," to double platinum certification.
During the recording of the band's 1999 independent album "The Worship Project," MercyMe needed one more song to fill out the album. Millard, alone on a bus in the middle of the night, finally wrote the lyrics to the song by drawing on his thoughts and personal faith about what one would experience standing before God in heaven.
“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.”
Millard told his story behind the bestselling single in the history of Christian music in his book, ”I Can Only Imagine,” released in February. It can be purchased at Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Amazon.com and other stores and online.
Millard takes you behind the scenes of his life — and the movie based on it — to discover how God repaired a broken family, prepared Millard for a music ministry, and wrote the words on his heart that would change his life forever. He recalls the challenges he faced throughout his childhood as he lived through unimaginable horrors. From the sports injury that destroyed his dreams of becoming a professional athlete, through the emotional and physical abuse he experienced at the hands of his father, to his eventual journey to music, Millard recounts how he found a way, through Christ, to healing and grace.
Opening March 16, “I Can Only Imagine” allows us to witness God’s presence throughout Millard’s life. The film brings to life the true story of the song of ultimate hope. A transformed relationship with his troubled father (Dennis Quaid) inspired Millard (J. Michael Finley) to write what is now the most-played radio single in Christian music history. The story beautifully illustrates that nobody is ever too far from God's love — or too far from an eternal home in Heaven.
The movie can be seen March 15 at 7 and 9:45 p.m. at the AMC Destin Commons 14. On March 15, times are 11:40 a.m., 2:15 p.m., 4:50 p.m., 7:25 p.m. and 10 p.m. Visit tickets.icanonlyimagine.com/ for tickets and more showtimes.