Tragedy Inspires A Song
The song “God Will Make A Way” has been sung by millions during worship in churches throughout the world. While you may know the song, what you may not know is the story behind it.
The song was written by Don Moen, a Dove Award-winning songwriter in Nashville, TN whose songs and recordings have sold millions of copies. In addition to leading worship on six continents, Moen has also performed with other Christian artists including Chris Tomlin, Laura Story, and Michael W. Smith.
Don recently visited the headquarters of The Gideons International and led the staff in worship during the morning devotion time. During his visit, he shared how he came to write the song.
“The song ‘God Will Make A Way’ was written for a very tragic situation in my family,” says Moen. Years ago, the Moen family received a phone call from a relative. The young son of Don’s sister-in-law was killed in a car accident as the family was traveling from Oklahoma to Colorado. The boy's parents, Dr. Craig Phelps and his wife, Susan, serve in The Gideons International Elk City Camp, Oklahoma.
Seeking spiritual comfort as he traveled out to Oklahoma for the funeral, Don spent time reading Scripture. One passage he read on the airplane was Isaiah, chapter 43. He was then led by the Lord to pen the lyrics to what became, “God Will Make A Way.”
While visiting with Craig and Susan, Don sat down at the piano in their living room. “This is a song the Lord gave me, and I want to play it for you,” he told the grieving couple. He then played the song. When he finished singing, he could see the couple was visibly moved.
“I knew there would be days to come when they would feel lonely,” says Don. He left them a copy of his performance of the song to listen to in such times. He says the song is meant to bring hope to people who feel they are in a hopeless situation.
"To see how God will take a song and impact not only people, but nations, that's always the most humbling thing."
It wasn’t until about two years later that Don would play the song again. First, during a worship service at a church, and then while he was leading a staff worship service at his music publisher’s offices. After the service, one of those in attendance approached Don and asked, “Why haven’t you recorded this?”
“It’s become one of my most well-known songs, yet I didn’t write it with the intention of recording it,” he says, having now played the song for millions around the world. “To see how God will take a song and impact not only people, but nations, that’s always the most humbling thing.”
“I’ve always prayed God would let me write songs that would help me touch people in their spirit, not their intellect. When I see that happening I can only say, ‘Thank God.’”
In the years since their son’s death, the Phelps’ have been able to reach out to others who’ve experienced personal tragedies and share Christ’s love with them. After the song’s success, Craig told Don, “Because of your song, Jeremy has probably reached more people through his death than he ever could have through his life.”
Don not only admires Craig and Susan for their continued faithful service in The Gideons International, but he also is inspired by the entire membership of The Gideons. “What I love about The Gideons is that they always seem to stay true to the mission of getting the word of God into people’s hands.”
“As the Lord tells us in Isaiah 55:11, when you put His Word in someone’s hands it will not return void, but it will accomplish that purpose whereunto it was sent,” says Don.
Now God Will Make A Way: A Time for Prayer, A Time for Unity, A Time for Healing is a full musical which Don is taking on tour, complete with choirs and musicians. He says the idea for the musical was inspired by the division he’s seeing in the USA and beyond, and how that division has spread from the political arena to the church.
“The devil’s strategy is to divide and conquer,” says Don. “If he can divide us as a church, he can divide us as a nation. We’ve got to come to agreement on the things we can agree upon, including the truth of God’s Word. What we need as a nation is a revival, a visitation from God. It’s time to bring people together.”