Dennis Quaid, 64, has been another of my favorite Hollywood actors. I didn’t know he was a Christian and was surprised to see him in the Christian movie, I Can Only Imagine where he plays the role of Arthur Millard, the abusive father of Bart Millard, the lead singer for the Gospel group Mercy Me.
Millard is best known for the Christian hit song “I Can Only Imagine” that was birthed in the difficult reconciliation that took place between Bart and his father. The movie has been a tremendous success with a budget of only $7 million it has earned over $84 million since its release.
Quaid has starred in several movies including the Parent Trap, The Rookie and the Soul Surfer. He is playing Ronald Reagan in the upcoming biopic on the famed US president.
Quaid is also a musician and is actually the lead singer in a band call the Sharks. And when asked to join the movie, I Can Only Imagine, Quaid told them about a Gospel song he had started writing for his mother several years back.
Quaid was raised in the Christian faith and attended a Baptist church where he was water baptized at age nine. His mother was a woman of faith and always wanted her son to write a Gospel song.
Quaid finished the song, “On My Way to Heaven,” and it was included as part of the movie’s sound track and he even sang it at a Mercy Me concert:
Recently in an interview with Megyn Kelly on NBC’s Today show, Quaid spoke of his addiction to cocaine that he picked up shortly after arriving in Hollywood. He said cocaine was a big part of the Hollywood scene in the 80s and some movies even had a cocaine budget.
He was doing cocaine almost every day and many times found himself screaming at God to help break his addiction. Though he regretted taking the drug by the next day the memory of the previous night was wiped from his mind and he was back into the Cocaine.
Often during this time he was sleeping just one hour a night and living up to his Hollywood “bad boy” image.
By the 1990s, his Hollywood shine was gone. Meanwhile, his then-wife Meg Ryan was starring in several hits and this was tough on Quaid who now seemed invisible in Hollywood. Quaid and Ryan divorced in 2001, with Ryan stating that Quaid had been unfaithful.
The turning point that led Quaid to breaking his addiction took place in the late 1980s. Because of the craziness that was consuming Quaid’s life, his band was talking about breaking up. In an article he wrote for Newsweek, Quaid said the group had just finished playing at Los Angeles’ China Club when:
“I had a white light experience where I saw myself either dead or losing everything that meant anything to me.”
He knew then he would be dead within five years if he didn’t turn his life around, and the next day, Quaid booked himself into rehab.
It was a struggle after rehab, but those hard years taught him humility and an appreciation for life. After briefly experimenting with other religions, Quaid renewed his faith in Christ.
Playing the role of Arthur in I Can Only Imagine also impacted him in an unusual way. In an interview at the National Religious Broadcaster’s convention earlier this year, Quaid spoke about playing the role of Millard’s father:
“After Arthur, I started having the thought of not judging anyone else and that included myself. Because you just let God take that over; let him take care of that all. It frees you up in life.“
What caught my attention is how Quaid realized he needed to quit judging himself. We all make mistakes and have done things we later regret and it is so easy to condemn ourselves for this. But it is not what God wants for believers.
The Apostle John writes:
19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before Him 20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; (1 John 3:19-21 NASV)
We need faith and confidence that God has completely forgiven our sins, but a critical step in this process is forgiving ourselves. Notice how John ties God’s forgiveness with self forgiveness stating it reflects our “confidence before God.”
Forgiving ourselves is not optional for the believer.
- Actor Dennis Quaid ‘screamed at God’ begging for help with Cocaine addiction: Christian Post
- Actor Dennis Quaid describes what heaven is like; says new faith role help him quit judging himself: Christian Post
- ‘I spent my night screaming at God to take this away’: Dennis Quaid reveals he did cocaine ‘almost every day in the 80s’, getting just an hour of sleep each night and curing his addiction: Daily Mail
- Dennis Quaid reveals he ‘screamed’ for God to free him from devastating addiction: Faithwire
- Dennis Quaid’s favorite mistake: Cocaine Addiction: Newsweek
- ‘On My Way to Heaven’: Dennis Quaid Wrote This Heart-Warming Christian Song After ‘I Can Only Imagine’: CBN