I Can Only Imagine and it’s impact on me

26 Mar

I have always been empathetic toward veterans who experience PTSD after seeing a realistic war movie such as Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers. But I just got a small taste of it myself. My wife and I went to see the movie I Can Only Imagine. (Inserting short plug for it: very well done, compelling story, emotionally charged, well-acted.)

At different times in the movie, I had to choke back the tears. Bart’s experience was too similar to my own to be able to distance myself and only watch it. I found myself living it on the big screen. The most poignant scene for me occurred when the camera showed what Bart had written in his journal. “I finally get the father I’ve wanted and now he’s leaving. How fair is that?”

My father was a mean alcoholic. Many times, I asked God to change my dad. The best I got was he stopped beating me. Feeling rejection remained. But that was far better than the fear I lived with after he loaded his shotgun one night in a failed attempt to kill Mom and me. Years later Jesus became very real to me. He led me and enabled me to forgive Dad. A healing in our relationship began. I didn’t reap a harvest from the years of nurturing until two weeks before he died of cancer. He had received the much-needed revelation and forgiveness through the testimony of a plumber who came in to fix his water heater. The last words I remember Dad saying to me were, “I only wish I knew the Bible as good as you.”

After forty-five years of talking together, my wife knows my history quite well. Nevertheless, she asked me how the many parallels between the movie and my life affected me. Several times I had to choke back more tears before I could answer. About that time, I realized the irony of the coincidences surrounding our viewing. My wife treated me to the movie on my birthday. The movie transported me back to my childhood memories. I remembered that Mom and Dad were married in 1939, and exactly thirty-nine years ago—on my birthday—we buried my dad. At church on the Sunday following my dad’s funeral, I told the Lord it wasn’t fair that I never got to worship with him. I felt the Lord say to me that we were worshiping together, me here and Dad with him in glory.

My healing continued for years as Jesus revealed more of my dad’s heart and inner struggles to me. So, like Bart I went from hating Dad to wanting to be like him in ways I had never imagined.

Not everyone will watch this movie and experience the emotional rush I did, but I can’t think anyone would watch it without being touched in their innermost being. This movie is entertaining and so much more.

If you’ve seen it, I welcome you to comment on the movie, too. How did it impact you?

3 Responses to “I Can Only Imagine and it’s impact on me”

  1. Heather Roberts at 8:17 am #

    My husband was also wrecked and healed through this movie.


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