I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk by Your side. I can only imagine what my eyes will see when Your face is before me. ~Mercy Me
I have heard and sang along to the song, “I Can Only Imagine”, countless times since its release by Mercy Me in 2001. For 15 years, the lyrics moved through my brain and out of my mouth but they never really stuck. Then I met an amazing young lady, Christina.
Yesterday, Christina performed the purest, most honest version of this mega-hit at Lancaster Bible College’s Chapel. But before she began, Christina shared with the crowd what this song means to her.
Christina is intellectually and physically disabled. Her life has been spent in a wheelchair. So when Christina sang she can ‘only imagine’, everyone in the audience knew she spoke those words from a true and hard place. She can only imagine what her life will be like without feeding tubes, wheelchairs and braces. Those are very real and nasty necessities of her life here and now, but not forever.
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. ~ Mercy Me
Christina can only imagine if she will dance before Jesus because she is unable to dance now. She has never swayed back and forth nor tapped her toes to a snappy tune, ever. She hasn’t danced at a wedding, or just to be silly when no one is looking.
She can only imagine if she will stand in His Presence or fall on her knees because she has never experienced standing or kneeling in this earthly life. She hasn’t had the privilege to stand in awe of God’s Majesty or kneel humbly in Holy reverence.
Christina longs to worship her Lord and Savior without any limitations or restrictions. What will it be like to be totally free to worship and just be whole? She can only imagine.
Joni Eareckson Tada can only imagine too. A diving accident at age 17 put her in a wheelchair for 47 years. Joni shares from her devotional, Beside Bethesda, her plea before God during some dark days, “Oh, God, I can’t live this way! Please, if I’m not going to die, You’re just going to have to show me how to live!”
Yesterday, Christina and her friends demonstrated how they have chosen to live their lives ‘here’ until they reach ‘there’: Heaven. They praised God with their songs and movements throughout the undiluted, filter-free, ‘where are the kleenex?’ Chapel service. It was raw and real; God was smiling.
They know this imperfect life is only temporary; this is not their forever home, these are not their forever bodies. They know when they enter His Presence, all their brokenness will be made whole. Their bodies will no longer be confined or contorted, and there will be no need for feeding tubes, wheelchairs, or braces. They will be forever free; they can only imagine how that freedom will feel.
The first time Christina stands up will be in the Presence of Jesus. I imagine she might do some dancing too.
Let’s Walk Worthy!