When I was in grade 10 and still in the youth group at the church, we as the senior youth (high school students) decided to do a study on the topic of Heaven. None of us had really studied it much in the past so we started going through the book Heaven by Randy Alcorn. This study took the spark of interest that I had in the topic and fanned it into a blazing fire. Heaven seemed, to me, almost like a distant fairy-tale. I would not have said it or directly thought it at the time, but that was how it seemed—like life—the real life is now, and Heaven is only a consolation prize of sorts. I thought of it only as a place where God was going to bring us—the church—so that we would not need to endure Hell. But, As Alcorn put it, “The best of life on earth is a glimpse of Heaven.” Life in Heaven will be far better in every way than life on earth. After all, if God can create whatever He wants, and He created us, He would create Heaven to complement every aspect of our beings and characters.
The song “I Can Only Imagine” by MercyMe forces us to consider what it will be like in Heaven. Not only will Heaven as a place be awe-inspiring, but God’s glory will be and even more so. The focal point of Heaven will be God. We will be in His presence, walking with Him, talking with Him. We will see Him face to face. Nothing in Heaven will be nearly as exhilarating as being in the presence of the Lord God Almighty.
In many songs, there is one line repeated over and over for emphasis—called a hook. The hook in this song also purposes as the title: “I can only imagine.” It can be heard 20 times throughout the song. I do find it interesting that Bart Millard, the composer, chose these words. I for one, cannot fully imagine what it will be like surrounded by God’s glory, but the little that I can imagine has me excited about it. According to Millard, he became obsessed with the line after his father passed away from pancreatic cancer. He wrote it down on everything that he could find but did not write a song about it until almost a decade later when he was flipping through his notebook.
One reason that I like this song is that it makes you think, as many good songs do. What will it be like walking with God? What will God’s face look like? What will we do when we first meet Him? What will it be like worshiping Him with multitudes of people, all in the same place? We do not know and cannot know yet, but when all is said and done, we will see that Heaven is far beyond our imagination. I recommend that you listen to the song, and if you are interested in reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn, it can be purchased from christianbook.com.
Peter Lewis is our Summer Leadership Intern and is sharing thoughts relating to music and ministry