My wife and I recently went to see the movie, “I can only imagine.” The film is based on the true story of how the lead singer for MercyMe, Bart Millard was lead to write the song after his father’s death from cancer. The song has become the most played Christian radio single ever. Since its release on March 16th the movie has already grossed $60 million worldwide, making it one of the most successful Christian movies to date. I strongly encourage the readers of this blog to see the movie. I wish every young dad could see this moving story of reconciliation between father and son
I have been a fan of MercyMe for many years. They are real and authentic. The lyrics speak to the real life of men and their struggles. It has a certain masculine tone compared to the “fluff” of much Christian music. The fluff reaches mostly the mind and emotions but not the soul, due to the absence of spiritual substance. While driving on long trips I spend time being ministered to by groups such as MercyMe. Recently “Even If” has ministered to my soul.
I was captivated by the story line. It tells the story of Bart’s struggle with being able to be reconciled with his Dad before his death. Early on the movie portrays the physical and emotional abuse Bart experienced from his father. He leaves home a bitter and angry young man. He find himself as the lead singer in a traveling band. However he is challenged by his manger, Scott Brickell to become more real, performing from his heart. Brickell asked Bart, “What are you running from.” Bart realizes it was the abuse he experienced from his father. He is told that he must face his pain.
Bart eventually is reconciled with his father and goes on to have a successful career as lead singer for MercyMe. The story took me back to my early days as a pastor, when I was in my early thirties. I had to forgive my father for not being there during my formative years, when he was struggling with alcohol. I had a hole and ache in my soul that no one could fill, not even my wonderful wife. Through forgiveness, I learned to let my father go. I came to love him for being my dad. I never did receive the affirmation I craved from my Dad. But through inner healing I came to an inner awareness that I had a Father in heaven, “who was very fond of me.”
Because of my personal experience the themes of masculine affirmation and healing in the masculine soul have been vital in my story. At my age, visible position in ministry and energy to do ministry has faded. But within I still have the spiritual drive to reach the younger generation of men, with the healing message of Jesus and his kingdom. Leanne Payne’s teaching on the masculine soul has been instrumental in my healing and restoration. In her last book “Heaven Calling” she wrote, what I consider prophetic words, “There is no greater need today than for knowledgeable and noble men in authority everywhere, capable of courageously speaking the truth both in the church in the public square.”
I take my directive from the Lord in Ps 78:5-6, “For he issued his laws to Jacob, he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, so the next generation might know them – even the children not yet born – and they in turn will teach their own children. So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.”