- Monday, March 01, 2004
Just three years ago, he was expressing rage toward God over the death of his young wife. Now, after some much-needed healing, Jeremy Camp is in love again and releasing a worship album he started years earlier.
“I would read about how God healed in the Gospels, and I would throw my Bible across the room. I questioned whether God is a loving God. In frustration, I would say, ‘I don’t want to share in Your faithfulness because I don’t think You are faithful.’ So many times I would pound on my bed because I wanted to punch something. The hardest part was trying to understand why she had to suffer. We would watch her cringe and cry because of the pain,” says BEC Recordings artist Jeremy Camp on seeing his wife, Melissa, die from cancer.
The story, a large part of Camp’s testimony, began when he met Melissa at an outdoor Bible study on the campus of Palomar College in California. Camp had moved to north San Diego County after earning an associate of theology degree from Calvary Chapel Bible College in Murrieta, California. Working as a bagger at Vons Grocery for several months, the budding artist knew his future was more than “paper or plastic;” but he felt no direction other than to stay put. Camp was leading worship at the time, which is how he ended up at the Palomar Bible study.
“You should have seen how Melissa worshiped God,” says Camp, who admits he really should have been focused on leading worship rather than checking out the girls in the group. “I tried to keep my distance until I realized my friend [who was also interested in her] didn’t have a chance.”
After dating for a while, the couple actually separated for a few months when Camp got the call that Melissa was hospitalized because of cancer. Camp, whose grandmother was a lung cancer survivor, had faith the cancer could be beaten. Reunited at her side, he provided encouragement and support; and after it seemed the cancer went into remission, the pair got engaged. Sadly, the celebration didn’t last long as the cancer came back, requiring a hysterectomy.
“We were crushed,” recalls Camp. “At a young age, there was no hope of our ever having children.” But, shockingly, when the doctors began the surgery on Melissa, they found the cancer had disappeared. “We were convinced this must be God,” he continues. “It was the most amazing time of my life. Then, right after we got married, the cancer came back rampantly. There was nothing the doctors could do.”
Melissa passed away on Feb. 5, 2001, and Camp felt broken and betrayed. He confesses, “God gave us this hope that we would have children, and then everything was taken away. We literally had thousands of people around the world praying for her. We all believed she would be healed. I truly thought we had confirmation. When she died, I just didn’t get it.”
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