Redemption story mirrors actor’s own

Dennis Quaid
Actor Dennis Quaid at Build Studio, New York City, on March 1, 2018, where he discussed his recent film I Can Only Imagine. (Photo Desiree Navarro/Getty Images)

Well-known actor Dennis Quaid recently starred in the movie "I can only Imagine", which tells the true story of Bart Millard, lead singer of cross-over Christian band MercyMe. Dennis plays Bart's verbally and physically abusive father, who eventually finds forgiveness and redemption through listening to radio programs that Bart has sung on.

Dennis is not only a talented actor, but also a good golfer, a small aircraft pilot and musician in a band called "The Sharks". He speaks candidly about how the movie challenged his own faith and helped him to finish a song that he presented to his mom for her 91st birthday.

The song, called "On my way to heaven," was inspired by Dennis' mother who "has always been there like a rock – her faith is unquestionable, so solid."

Some of the lyrics to his song read: "My life may not be roses, but still I'm gonna be alright/ As long as I've got my Savior by my side./ He freed me from the heavy chains that had bound my broken heart/ He picked me up, gave me a brand new start./ Now I'm on my way to Heaven, on my way to Heaven. / I'm on my way to Heaven, so I can't be staying long."

Dennis says his "faith roots" lie deep in the Baptist church and he attended Sunday school regularly as a child. "I made the decision to become a Christian and got baptised when I was nine, along with my brother Randy, on the same day," he recalls.

Like many people, Dennis drifted from his childhood convictions as he grew. In his late 20s, he went around the world and in his travels had a crisis of faith questioning "Who is God?" He admits to various periods of doubt in his life. "I became a seeker really." He confesses to doing drugs, especially cocaine in the 70s and 80s and indulging in sexual immorality. He has also had an eating disorder, and been married three times, most famously to Meg Ryan.

He says he identifies with the parable of the prodigal son who left his father's house and went his own way for a while, until he realised the futility of living apart from his father's love. Dennis says his character Arthur finds grace in the "Imagine" movie. "That is the beautiful thing about the Good News that Jesus was talking about," says Dennis. "The grace of God."

"No matter what, the door is always open to the Lord. All one has to do is open one's heart and ask, and God will be there. It's certainly been a comfort in my life," he admitted in a 2007 interview with belief.net

"I have read the Bible from cover to cover, more than once, and so I came back to my childhood faith – for me it is Jesus. Meaning in life is found in the red words of Jesus. How simple it really is."

He told belief.net that he wants his son Jack to know "about Jesus and Jesus' life, why Jesus came here, why He was on earth. He came here and died for our sins. He came here to teach us how to live. He's an example to all of us-it seems like no matter how hard we try, even the best of us Christians, we can't come close, we fall short of living our life in that perfect way that He did. But it's all about keeping your eye on that."

In another interview, after a medical emergency with his newborn twins, Dennis confessed, "We are just too small to handle [life] ourselves. We as human beings, get filled up with ourselves and go 'I'm doing great, I've got this one handled' then life throws something at you and you feel helpless. That's when you need God on your side.

"Let God handle the big deals. There is no big deal to Him," the veteran actor advises.

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