When Bart Millard’s father died of cancer in 1991, he left him with the
assurance that heaven would be a better place than where we are now and Bart
began to imagine what it would be like.
Years later, he put those words into a song:
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
I can only imagine. . .
This song touches a part of the heart that yearns to meet with God in a world where there is no pain, no sorrow, and no sufferings but with a glimpse of a world where there is peace and joy. It is a place we’ve never experienced, and can only imagine.
Today, we’re in a world where one day our loved ones are with us and the next day they’re not. It is a world where one day we have a job and the next day, we don’t, where one day we’re experiencing close and loving relationships and the next day they’re broken. I can only imagine what it will be like when all the pieces will be put back together again.
We can imagine what it will be like because God has given us a glimpse even here and now—in the springtime when the dormant creation changes to new life with God showing us his handiwork in trees bursting with white and pink flowers and then the new green leaves. We also see glimpses in the unfolding of a new life as a baby bird pecks its way into the world. And while we desperately mourn the loss of our loved ones, we can rejoice in the birth of our children and grandchildren.
We can only imagine what it will be like when we meet our friends and loved ones again. There will be so much catching up to do! On Sabbath afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I experienced a glimpse of that and it reminded me of what it will be like. I had turned on some of my favorite sacred music and was comfortably seated when the doorbell rang. I really didn’t want to go to the door because I was sure it was someone selling solar panels! But, then it rang again.
I went to the door and saw three people—a couple and their niece. They looked familiar, but I couldn’t say their names. When they said, “Gary and Marla”—I was astonished! They were missionaries at Ikizu in Tanzania when our family was there back in the ‘70’s. And if any of you have lived overseas on a mission compound for any length of time, you know that the bond between friends become like that between family members. We kept in touch for many years, but I lost track of them when they moved to Montana. I hadn’t seen them in 25 years and here they were at my door! Immediately, I called my children to come at once!
Long into the evening we reminisced with stories and pictures. And now with Facebook, we can keep in touch daily.
I can only imagine what it will be like—I won’t need Facebook to keep in touch when our earth is made new. And we won’t need light and warmth from the sun, because Jesus will be our light and His presence will be with us forever. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9.