Steven Curtis Chapman Reflects on Daughter's Tragic Death, Talks God's Faithfulness Amid Deep Despair
Fourteen years ago, Christian recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman’s world was turned upside down.
Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, adopted their daughter Maria Sue from China in 2004. Just a few years later, when their daughter was five years old, one of the Chapmans’ sons accidentally struck Maria Sue with an SUV in the driveway, tragically ending her life.
The heartbreaking story shook the Christian music industry and sparked an outpouring of love for the singer-songwriter who had become a fixture in the space.
Chapman, 59, appeared this week on CBN News’ “Quick Start” podcast, where he opened up about what it has been like to grieve such a profound loss with the eyes of the world watching:
From the beginning, Chapman said sharing his story had to be a family decision.
“Because when I’m sharing my story, I’m really sharing my family’s story,” he said. “I’m sharing my wife’s journey alongside me. So it’s been a decision that we’ve made together, but it really has been also just — I feel like it’s part of what the calling [God has placed on my life] has been.”
The “Cinderella” singer-songwriter said he has been most encouraged in his faith by the biblical stories from the Old and New Testaments of people who overcame profound trials, seemingly insurmountable doubts, and unimaginable hardships yet still found solace in the presence of the Lord.
“The story of Peter, you know, walking on the water — it’s not just the story of him, ‘Man, he walked on the water,'” Chapman said. “What I’m encouraged by is the fact that he sank and he took his eyes off Jesus and he freaked out and he feared and Jesus pulled him up and he learned from that process.”
“I’m so glad that God didn’t edit out those vulnerable places in the lives of even His followers in Scripture,” he continued. “In fact, He let some of those most vulnerable failures be written right into the story, and that gives such encouragement to me. … Even as I’ve had this platform and this opportunity, it’s been very important that I stay very honest and that’s really the only thing I have to offer, anyway, is just the honesty through my music and my songs.”
Throughout his career, Chapman added, it has been “important” to be “honest and vulnerable” with his life “so that others can be encouraged by that.”
One of the artist’s newest songs, “Still,” chronicles the ways God has remained faithful despite life’s twists and turns — both the good and the bad.
Chapman came to the realization over the last few years that he still has stories to tell and truths to share through music. One of the first songs born out of that desire, he said, is “Still.”
Looking back over his life of faith, the singer said he “had no way of knowing the mountains were gonna be so high and the valleys were gonna be so deep.”
“I have wrestled, I have rested, I have trusted, I have tested God’s patience,” Chapman said. “It’s been beautiful, it’s been terrible, it’s been wonderful, it’s been more painful, it’s been all of those things, and yet, here’s the bottom line: God has been faithful still and God has good still, even when life has not been.”
“That word ‘still’ just became so special to me and I thought, ‘I really want to write a song by that title and just talk about all those things because God is still faithful,'” he noted.
Our full conversation with Chapman will be available this week on “The Prodigal Stories Podcast.”
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