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Debra Akins
Christian musician Jeremy Camp will perform at the Capitol Theatre on Thursday night — his first concert in Salt Lake City in eight years.
Soon after Melissa died, Camp turned to music as a way of expressing both the trial and the triumph of his faith through the song "I Still Believe"

When Christian recording artist Jeremy Camp last performed in Salt Lake City, the scars on his soul were still fresh.

Just two years earlier his wife, Melissa — to whom he had been married for only three months — died from ovarian cancer.

"It shook me to the core," he says now, looking back on the crisis of his faith.

He remembers sitting in his room one night, reading in his Bible about how if you just have faith you can be healed.

"I have faith!" he shouted as he hurled his Bible across the room. "So why wasn't my wife healed?"

When you go through something like that, Camp says, you go back to the basics of your faith, and your perception of God, and who he is, and what is your relationship with him.

"It was a struggle," said Camp, who grew up in Indiana as a pastor's son, and who was educated at Calvary Chapel Bible College in Southern California. "For me, God was always the most loving, most tender, most gentle force in my life. The Lord had always been so good to me.

"What I had to learn is that sometimes things happen in our lives that hurt, and that we don't understand. I had to learn how to just let go of worldly sorrow and just have faith in God. He's God, we just have to trust that."

Soon after Melissa died, Camp turned to music as a way of expressing both the trial and the triumph of his faith through the song "I Still Believe":

Scattered words and empty thoughts

Seem to pour from my heart

I've never felt so torn before

Seems I don't know where to start

But it's now that I feel Your grace fall like rain

From every fingertip, washing away my pain

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

The only place I can go is into your arms

Where I throw to you my feeble prayers

In brokenness I can see that this was your will for me

Help me to know You are near

"That was how I coped ?— writing those words and that music," Camp recalls. "I wasn't really thinking those words. They just came out of my soul."

And with them came the healing and the understanding he was seeking.

"It's very evident in Proverbs 3: 5-6," Camp says. "Trust in the Lord. Don't lean on your own understanding. It's OK that his ways are not our ways. He's God, and we don't have to understand. We just have to trust him and his goodness."

In the eight years since Camp's last performance in Salt Lake City, "God has blessed me way beyond what I could have imagined," Camp said. He married Adrienne Liesching, and they are parents of two daughters and one son. He is a five-time Dove Award winner, including male vocalist of the year in 2005. He has released five albums, three of which have gone Gold, and has had 17 songs hit number one on the Christian music charts. And he has recently released a book about his faith journey called, appropriately enough, "I Still Believe."

"I'm thankful," Camp said when asked about the last eight years of his life. "No matter what happens in your life – whether it's incredibly good or incredibly bad — you still have to trust God. He knows what he's doing. He knows what is best. You don't have to understand. You just have to do the best you can to respond to whatever happens in your life — and trust God."

Jeremy Camp's "We Cry Out" Tour will stop at Salt Lake City's Capitol Theatre on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. Appearing with Camp will be the reigning GMA Artist of the Year, Francesca Battistelli, and Adam Cappa. For ticket information please call 1-855-443-8499.

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