4/1/2020 – Pastor Brian’s Blog –
For the next few months on the first Wednesday of each month we are going to look at the story behind a song. Last month we looked at the song “It is Well,” written by Horatio Spafford. This month we are going to look at the story behind the song “I still Believe,” written by Jeremy Thomas Camp.
Judy and I, along with a friend, just watched the newly released movie “I still Believe” based on the story behind the song. If you have not watched it yet, I would highly recommend that you rent it. If you have not seen the movie yet, but intend to, I would highly recommend that you do not finish reading this blog. Especially if you are one of those people that really gets upset when someone tells you the plot of the movie before the movie is over. So… you have been warned!
To look at Jeremy Camp now, a contemporary Christian music singer and songwriter with eleven albums, four of them RIAA-certified as Gold, and two live albums; having won five GMA Dove Awards, been nominated for three American Music Awards, and nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album in 2010 for his album, Speaking Louder Than Before; you might think, ‘I sure would love to have such a successful career as Jeremy Camp!’
But it was his song “I Still Believe,” Camp’s fourth single from his first major label full-length album, Stay, released on June 24, 2003, that tells the real story behind his success.
In 1999 Jeremy Camp met Melissa Henning, and it was like love at first sight. Jeremy said he was struck by the “purity in her heart for God.” Their connection began in friendship, but their romantic feelings for each other led to a whirlwind courtship, buoyed by their love and faith. It did not take long for this love to flourish and in October 2000 Jeremy and Melissa were married.
At the age of 23, just as Jeremy’s music career was about to take off, and only four months after marrying the love of his life, the woman he expected to spend the rest of his life with… Melissa died from ovarian cancer at age 21.
Jeremy said that “It’s the most painful part of my life,” as “I believed that she was going to be healed and we would have this long story together.” After Melissa’s death, Jeremy tried to find strength in what she’d told him from her hospital bed. Melissa said, “If one life is changed by what I go through, it’s all worth it.” Jeremy recalls his late wife’s hope that just one person would be inspired to accept faith into their life.
Jeremy struggling with his pain and frustration in God, wrote his feelings into the song “I Still Believe.” Looking back at these events Jeremey said, “There is hope at the end of hardship. Instead of turning my back and being an angry, bitter person at God, it made me stronger.”
Over time Jeremy would slowly open up about Melissa’s death during his concerts. It was one night after a concert that a young South African-born Christian singer-songwriter sought Jeremy out to tell him that after hearing his talk about his struggle and Melissa’s death, it “changed my life.”
That encounter, which happened two years after Melissa’s death, turned out to be a “God event” as Adrienne, that South African girl, would end up marrying Jeremy and giving him three children, all three of whom are gifted musically, and making their parents proud.
There is so much more to the story, and now you can watch the just released movie “I Still Believe” on iTunes or other rental venues. If you came this far and have not seen the film, I would encourage you to do it. I think you would be blessed.
Here is the song…