To Strengthen a Grieving Mother

by Lindsay Terry

Lindsay TerrySong: "God Will Make a Way"

Scripture: "I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert" (Isa. 43:19b).

I have often reported that most of the songs that are meaningful to Christians were born during dark periods in individuals' lives. A tragedy of epic proportions was the background for the writing one of Don Moen's most influential and widely known songs. The message in the lyrics and the beauty of the melody line have caused it to cross over from the genre of praise and worship music to the repertoire of a number of Southern Gospel groups.

Don, the second oldest of the four children of Morris and Marjorie Moen, was born in Duluth, Minn., in 1950. He started playing the violin in the third grade, and it was to be his major instrument in the coming years. With it he was able to win a scholarship to the University of Southern Mississippi. He was soon playing in seven orchestras within a radius of about 100 miles from his school.

Even with that kind of success, the violin was not his first love. His ultimate goal was to be a Navy pilot, but his glasses kept him from that ambition. Before becoming a vice president at Integrity Music, he was involved in a number of positions, and during that time he began to write and record songs that have ministered to millions of people.

One such meaningful song is the subject of this story. The following is how Don related his story to me:

"My wife's sister and her husband, Craig, and their children, were involved in a car accident during a ski trip they were taking from their home in Oklahoma to a resort in Colorado. Way out somewhere in the Texas panhandle, their van was hit by an eighteen-wheeler. Craig did not see the truck coming, nor did the driver of the truck see their van. The truck hit a rear panel of the van with such force that all four of their children were thrown out.

"The children had just left their seats, where they had been buckled in, to lie down for a nap on a bed' positioned in the rear of the van. In the darkness, only the crying of their severely injured children made it possible for Mom and Dad to find them-all except one, their nine-year-old son, whom they finally located lying by a nearby fence. He was already dead. His neck had been broken.

"Craig, a medical doctor, picked his son up and tried to revive him, but God said to him, Jeremy is with me. You deal with those who are living.' They sat for forty-five minutes, out in the wilderness, waiting for an ambulance.

"Craig was a Bible teacher and an elder at his church. He knew the Word of God, probably better than I did, and was living in faith, believing the Lord for things in his life. So why would something like this happen?"

"They asked me to sing at the funeral, so I boarded a plane the next day, March 19, 1987. As I sat on the plane, wondering what I should say to them, I began to read in the Book of Isaiah. My eyes went to chapter 43, verse 19, "I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert." Instantly, the Lord gave me a song to sing to them. I sketched it out on a legal pad, intending to sing it at the funeral, but they had already planned to ask me to sing Henry Smith's Give Thanks,' so I sang their request instead.

"After the funeral, I was sitting with them, holding them in my arms. I cried with them, and through my tears I said, The Lord gave me a song for you.' And I began singing: God will make a waywhere there seems to be no way,'

In the song there is a reassurance that God will not only stay close to us, as a Guide and Friend, but He will be there during each new day.' Even though our way seems as rugged as a desert or a wilderness, He will "still remain" as the Restorer and Provider.

Don taped a copy of the song for Susan to play on her small cassette player just above her kitchen sink. "I knew that when all of the people had gone, and everything was said and done, there would be days when she needed to hear that God was working in ways that she couldn't see."

God does work in many ways that we do not understand. Young Jeremy's friends heard that he had become a Christian before the accident. Many of them began to ask how they might know Christ, so that they could go to heaven when they died. Jeremy's parents became more intense in their walk with the Lord.

Jeremy's mother later related how that she made a quick decision between the time that she got out of the van and the time they found her son. She knew that she had to make a choice between becoming bitter and angry, and accepting God's plan for their family at that time. Good things happened as a result of making the decision to embrace God's will, no matter what that would mean in their lives. She agreed that God really did make a way for them.

Don continued, "About two years later I was called to sing in a small church in Dothan, Alabama. Although I had never intended to sing "God Will Make a Way" in a public service-I had written it just for that grieving family-somehow I felt impressed of the Lord to share the song with those people. I did so, and it had a tremendous impact on them."

"The following week I was leading worship during the Wednesday staff devotional period at Integrity Music, and again the Lord laid it upon my heart to sing that song. I pulled out my legal pad, looked at the words, and sang it for them. It seemed as if almost everyone there needed to hear the words, "He works in ways we cannot see."

"Following the devotional period, F. G. Baldwin approached me and asked, Don, have you ever thought of recording that song?' I said, Oh no, I would never record that song. It is much too simple.' Baldwin protested, That song has a tremendous message and I think it needs to be recorded.' After discussing it with some of the staff, we decided to put the song in a project entitled, Eternal God.'"

Reflection: In times of trial, and especially in times of extreme trail, we need to be assured that we have a God who loves us and who will provide for our every need, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. During those times see if you, too, are not encouraged and helped by singing Don's song.

Lindsay Terry has been a song historian for more than 40 years, being published
in a number of publications, including Pulpit Helps. He has also written
some 34 books and church training manuals.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
Disciple Banner Ad