This morning on the way in to church I heard a song that has been around for a couple of years now. It is called “I can only Imagine” and it is sung by the group Mercy Me. The song is a culmination of events in the life of the band’s lead singer. The story is amazing and if you have not seen the movie or read the book…you should. In this song the writer, Bart Millard, is trying to picture what heaven looks like. Let me share some of the words with you.
He writes: 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.
Many of us may have wondered what heaven will be like. We see some descriptions in scripture, but no one has ever come back to give us all the details. Try as we might we can only imagine. But there are other things about our Lord and Savior that I can only imagine. As you read scripture do you ever try to put yourself into the story? For example, I can only imagine what Zechariah thought and felt as the angel Gabriel stood on the right side of the altar of incense, telling him that he and his barren wife Elizabeth were going to have a son. But not just any son. This son will go before the coming Messiah to prepare the way.
I can only imagine what Mary and Joseph thought as they gazed down into the face of their newborn son, knowing that this was no ordinary child. They were first time parents. They were in a stable along with animals. They were away from home, family and friends and they could smell their first visitors before they saw them. How on earth do you raise the Son of God…the same Son of God who was the Word at creation. The same Son of God who hung the sun, moon and stars in the sky.
I can only imagine the widow of Nain. After her husband died all she had was one son and now he was dead. She had no means to support herself and no family to help. She had become one of those poor widows who had to be taken care of by the generosity of others. Most of the town was following this poor widow to the burial site when Jesus and a great crowd encountered them. When Jesus saw what was happening, He had compassion and brought the young man back to life. I can only imagine the joy, awe, and wonder this woman felt.
I can only imagine the overwhelming feelings the lepers, the blind, the lame and the deaf felt when Jesus healed them and sent them home to their families. None of them had dared to hope their lives would ever get better. They had resigned themselves to their lot in life. And then the Son of God came crashing in and everything changed.
I can only imagine being in the crowd the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. The shouts of the crowds and the attention. And the disapproving looks of the religious authorities. The crowds had no idea the week would end with a very different mood. It was Passover and a time for celebration. Jesus’ arrival was just one more thing to celebrate.
I can only imagine being part of the group of believers that first Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came in the rush of a mighty wind. To hear my native language spoken by someone who had never before spoken it, to see the tongues as of fire resting on each believer. What kind of electricity and excitement must have been in the air that day.
I can only imagine being a new believer in Jesus Christ and being afraid for my life because a man named Saul was trying to eliminate any and all followers of Jesus Christ. We do not and have not ever lived with that sort of fear.
I can only imagine the apostle John after the Revelation. First the awe and magnitude of what he had witnessed. Second the command to write all he had seen. It is a challenge to read it and we have a chance to read and reread. He had one chance to remember and write.
I can only imagine the unconditional, unfathomable, unceasing love of Jesus. We know what we have seen and felt but we have no idea of this love’s breadth, depth, width or height…not in its entirety. We like to think we are strong, and we would do anything for those we love, but to love the whole world and be willing to pay the horrible price for every single sin…I can only imagine that love.
When we stop and think of all God has done for us it is hard to imagine. But He is not asking for us to understand His love. He just wants to give it to us. He loves us because we are…good, bad or indifferent. We cannot make Him love us more. We cannot make Him love us less. He simply loves us. Because God is Love. Imagine!
In His grip
Pastor Matt W