Legendary Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman says in a new interview that he has felt led by God to open up about his grief journey and to sing about God’s faithfulness, some 15 years after his 5-year-old daughter, Maria Sue Chapman, died following a tragic accident at their home.
The Grammy-winning CCM artist says he referenced that tragedy on the title track of his 2022 album Still when it describes life as “beautiful and terrible, more painful, more wonderful than I ever could have known.” The chorus also references God’s presence in the midst of pain: “Still, I'm gonna sing about the One who's given life to me … His love is unchanging, His gracе is amazing.”
He said he wants to encourage others.
“There's humility in just knowing: God, You are God, and I am not,” Chapman told Christian Headlines. “But even having walked through our own personal loss of our daughter and 15 years into that journey -- that doesn't go away, that doesn't get easier. What do you do with that?
“And what I have done, by God's grace, is to say: God, You are faithful. And You're good. I don't understand all of this. But I know the fact that we are on our own personal journey, 15 years into this journey, and we can see You working and redeeming and restoring us, even this side of heaven, believing and knowing that, ultimately, that healing is going to come when You do wipe every tear from our eyes, and all of these things that are so broken, are made whole again. But in the meantime, I'm gonna trust You, I'm gonna keep singing about Your goodness and Your faithfulness.
“Because I've experienced it, I've seen it, tasted [it],” Chapman told Christian Headlines. “And [I’ve] seen that You are good, even with the hard and sadness and the ache and the longing that we live with. And I think that's a simple message, but it's just where I feel like God has put me.”
Earlier this year, Chapman celebrated his 50th No. 1 hit, and this fall, he recorded a TBN concert special, Steven Curtis Chapman: The Great Adventure. It was filmed live with the Nashville Recording Orchestra.
Chapman says he has “felt compelled” lately to minister, through his music and concerts, to individuals who are broken and grieving. He wants to reach people who are “looking at the world in the same way I am and going, ‘Man, has it ever been more broken? Have we ever needed more the hope of the gospel?’”
One of Chapman’s close friends, adoption advocate and former University of Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton, died last month at 60. Chapman noted that he himself is of a similar age (61). Globally, Chapman said, wars and conflicts are a daily reality.
People often thank Chapman for discussing hope in the midst of pain, he told Christian Headlines.
“For me, the Psalms have become so precious and powerful in my life. ... When you hear the Psalmist saying, ‘Lord, how long are You going to forget me forever? I feel hopeless, I feel desperate.’ But then, ‘even so, I'm going to trust You, I'm gonna hold on to Your goodness and Your faithfulness and declare it and sing it.’ ... I'm gonna live with both, you know, the already and the not yet. And I think that's something that I've just felt like God has encouraged me to encourage others with.”
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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.