I was startled when I went to a radio station for an interview while in Monroe, Wash., for the final stop of Franklin Graham’s Pacific Northwest Tour.
One of the employees showed me an Instagram post from two years ago. As a friend of hers was taking her last breath, the family was being comforted by one of my songs, Walk by Faith. I had written the song during my honeymoon with my first wife, Melissa, who was battling cancer and would die just three months later.
Well, I’m broken—but I still see Your face
Well, You’ve spoken—pouring Your words of grace.
Well, I will walk by faith
Even when I cannot see
Well, because this broken road
Prepares Your will for me
That song was the last thing the woman’s friend heard before she went to be with Jesus.
I was humbled. I don’t deserve any of this. It’s only by God’s grace I’m able to live—and sing—for Him. He deserves all the glory and all my thanks.
When Melissa died at the age of 21 and I was 23, my faith was shaken to the core. I shouted to God, “I believed!” because Melissa and I did. We had prayed because we knew God could heal.
Many Scriptures rushed into my mind, verses I had memorized growing up and in Bible college. One in particular ministered to me deeply and God applied it to my broken life. Proverbs 3:5-6 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (NKJV).
I didn’t understand what God was doing, and yet I knew I could trust Him. I told the Lord how I felt and gave Him my struggles. He reached deep down to the most intricate places of my heart and said, “I see that hurt, I see that pain, I see that grief.”
I told God, “OK, here’s my heart.” He didn’t take it and smash it on the ground. No, He took it and so delicately healed it.
Two weeks after Melissa went home to be with the Lord in Heaven, God graciously enabled me to write I Still Believe.
I still believe in Your faithfulness
I still believe in Your truth
I still believe in Your holy Word
Even when I don’t see, I still believe
God’s Word is inerrant, it’s God-breathed and it’s absolute truth. I believe everything in it.
Death is not final for the Christian because we serve a living God, who raised Jesus Christ from the dead after His crucifixion for our sins on the cross. What’s amazing, and this is all God, is that Melissa had such an eternal perspective. She had told me, “Jeremy, if I die from this cancer and one person gets to know Jesus as their Savior because of it, it will all be worth it.” Because this was not her home, she had His peace and joy.
Well, 17 years later, there hasn’t been just one but tens upon tens of thousands of people who have heard about Christ and committed their lives to Him as I have shared my testimony in concerts around the world. Thank You, Jesus!
And, of course, I’m so grateful God brought me a new wife, Adrienne Liesching. We have three beautiful children—Isabella, Arianne and Egan. Adrienne and I are looking to Him for wisdom and grace to rear our kids, knowing He is in control of their lives and that we can trust Him for them.
My life Scripture is Acts 20:24: “But none of these things move me, nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (NKJV).
God has brought me a long way. I grew up in a Christian home in Indiana and received Christ as Savior when I was very young, but it was when I was 16 and went to a youth camp that I fully comprehended what repentance meant. A minister by the name of Jon Courson proclaimed the Gospel. He had gone through the double tragedy of losing his wife and daughter in separate car accidents 12 years apart. I had strayed from the Lord and drifted into the party scene, but during that camp I sensed God telling me: “I want to use you, but you’re really close to the edge of a cliff, and you’re about to fall off. I want you to run as far away from that cliff as possible.” I repented and prayed, “God, I’m Yours. I make You the Lord of my life.”
I wish I could say I’ve conquered all of my fears. Like the Apostle Peter, I start to sink when I look at the huge waves. But when I look toward Him, He is always The Answer.
Jesus is our Comforter, our Shield and Protector. He is our Wonderful Counselor, the Alpha and Omega—the Beginning and the End. He is the Great Shepherd and the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is all we need.
Header Image: TJ Petrino/BGEA