Mar 13, 2020 | Maddie Garcia
When I saw the movie “I Still Believe,” I was reminded about those I know who have suffered greatly in life, and yet trusted deeply in God.
People who have suddenly been taken to hospital for an illness or disease, who have held onto their faith despite their challenging circumstances, and those who stood beside them through it all.
I thought about my grandma who was in and out of the hospital for months before passing away this fall. I thought about my best friend’s mom who was diagnosed with lung cancer, and how two weeks later, we gathered for her funeral. I thought about my friend who had a miscarriage, and then a number of complications with the pregnancy of her first child. I thought about my dad’s friend who is adjusting to life with early-onset Alzheimer’s.
“I Still Believe” is about the Christian musician Jeremy Camp and his late wife Melissa, who was diagnosed with cancer in her twenties. It tells their love story (which is quite the whirlwind) and the challenges they faced as they dated, got engaged, and joined their lives in marriage, all while Melissa battled cancer.
When begging God doesn’t work
Have you ever prayed for a miracle to happen? Have you ever experienced a miracle?
Jeremy and Melissa have. After Melissa’s cancer spread, she was told she needed to get a hysterectomy (which was heartbreaking because she wanted to have kids one day). When they prepped her for the surgery and ran some tests, they didn’t go through with it because the cancer was gone! She was healed–what a miracle!
But then, fast forward a few months later, the cancer returned. And it hit hard. It’s not long after their wedding that she is back in the hospital, living her last days, with her husband and family by her side.
Jeremy is crushed when Melissa dies. He has all these questions about disappointments in life, which we hear him discuss with his dad. He had begged God to truly heal Melissa, and it didn’t happen. Does God not listen? Does he not care? We see some of these internal battles Jeremy had, and I imagine it was a long process of grieving, questioning, and being angry with God, before he came to a place of saying “I still believe.”
Maybe you’ve prayed for people who were sick and in hospital, asking God to heal them. And maybe you didn’t get the answer you were hoping for. I don’t know where you’re at, or if you’ve suffered a loss recently, so I want to be careful with making statements about what we can take away from situations like this.
However, from what I’ve experienced, even though it hurts and even though we miss people deeply who are no longer with us, God is still good. He’s still in control. He still cares. We can still believe in God, even if we don’t have the answers to why certain things happen and the people we love die.
I imagine it was a long process of grieving, questioning, and being angry with God, before he came to a place of saying “I still believe.”
Knowing those people of faith
On their first date, Jeremy compares Melissa to one of the stars in the sky, telling her, “Some stars shine brighter than others.” Close to the end of Melissa’s life, she tells Jeremy about how the stars that shine the brightest are the ones that have exploded (i.e. died). She hopes that her life and her story will impact others, saying, “If one person’s life is changed by what I go through, it will all be worth it.” Melissa was a person who had faith in God and his plans, until the very end. The movie could have explored the depth of her faith more, but we can see that she comes to a place of peace when she anticipates she will die from cancer.
When you know a person of faith who strives to follow Jesus and trusts in him, despite a debilitating sickness or terminal illness, you can see the sincerity of their faith in God. And when you see those in their communities, the number of people whose lives they touched, it’s incredible. My best friend said they greeted well over 1000 people at the visitation for her mom. A thousand! People like her shine bright–they impact people during their time on earth, and it carries on even after they’re gone.
Sharing the life stories of these people of faith can be a great source of encouragement. That was the hope of this movie, and Jeremy Camp’s music platform–that this story will impact and minister to others. In an interview Jeremy shares, “It’s a redemption story of no matter what the darkest time that may be in your life, God will show himself faithful. And I hope that’s displayed.”
Even when we face struggles and pain and disappointments, and we doubt and question God, we can still come through with a faith and trust in God who is the author of our stories.
There will be a day…
Jeremy loved seeing Melissa at worship concerts, singing along, and raising her hands in praise. He said it was like she was reaching for heaven.
We’re all reaching for heaven. We want to be in that place where God will wipe every tear from our eyes and be in his presence forever.
“There will be a day with no more tears, no more pain, and no more fears
There will be a day when the burdens of this place,
Will be no more, we’ll see Jesus face to face
But until that day, we’ll hold on to you always”
From Jeremy Camp’s song There will be a day