the bottomline

I Can Only Imagine
Friday, June 1, 2018 by Dan Allen

Soaring to heights heretofore unheard of for a Christian—genre movie, now the 3rd highest–grossing music biopic of all time ($82.6 million as of early May) with a filming budget of 7-million, I Can Only Imagine, is also mopping up on tears in tissues. The song itself, by MercyMe about one’s reaction when they finally meet Jesus in Heaven, is a tearjerker for all true believers who are so indebted to the Son of God. The heart wenching story of the author of the song, Bart Millar, adds to the emotional pit–in–the–stomach. No spoiler alert here. You’ll have to see it for yourself.

Back to the theme of the song, the thought of what will happen when one first arrives in Heaven came to my attention after a recent flight when there was no one to greet me. That’s not unusual nor expected. I travel a fair amount and often arrive at an airport which might be a distance from friends or relatives. Often, when I go to Southeast Asia, I travel solo and am picked-up by a hotel driver. The driver will have that small placard which reads: “ALLEN.” That would be me. Now they are using tablets.

On social networks is a photo of a disheveled 30-something–year–old in pajamas standing at the baggage carousal with a sign that read something like – “Welcome back mom & dad . . . we ran out of cereal.” Another one embarrassed their pick–up with – “Welcome back from Rehab.”

In time past, at this present airport, one of our sons and daughter–in–laws, with grandchild in tow, would be there to greet us. Hugs were first on the agenda. On one occasion, a very sad one, our good friends Doc & Ruth were there to pick us up. This was the day after our son had been killed. The hugs were long and hard. In fact, I ended-up knocking Doc’s coffee out of his hand. They, too, had experienced the loss of a child just a few years before. She had been murdered.

I knew no one would be at the bottom of the escalator on this day, but there were people waiting for their friends or relatives. One couple embraced for a long time. But no one for me and I’m okay with that. I’ll get to see my friends soon enough.

Sometimes I wonder what the greeting will be like in Heaven. Will an announcement be heard over the heavenly intercom of my arrival or will my loved ones just sense it? Will my family and friends gather behind the pearly gates (if there is such a thing) in great anticipation to see me? Or will I bypass all of these to see the One who made all this possible—Jesus? I do miss those who have gone on before, but He is the reason for my eternal destiny in Heaven.

MercyMe asks—will I dance, stand, kneel in His presence? Will I sing or be able to speak at all. I can only imagine. But it will happen someday for those who are followers of Him. It’s just hard to imagine.


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