For Christian singer/songwriter couple Jeremy and Adrienne Camp, writing and recording an album together in the midst of a global pandemic — though unconventional — was an act of worship.
“We’ve led worship together for years and always talked about recording something together, but it never seemed like the right timing,” Jeremy, a Grammy Award-winning recording artist, told The Christian Post. “And then the coronavirus hit.”
In the last weekend before indoor theaters shut down due to COVID-19, "I Still Believe" — an Erwin brothers film following the true-life story of Camp and his journey of love and loss — opened to roughly $9 million at the box office, beating out several Hollywood blockbusters.
“We were celebrating what God was doing with our story when they suddenly announced theaters were being shut down,” Jeremy recalled. “Not long after, we found out our tour had to be canceled. It was really difficult. It was like running 100 miles an hour and then suddenly hitting a brick wall.”
Amid disappointment, Jeremy said he felt God speak to his heart, telling him to pick up his guitar.
“I've had that happen before in the past,” he said. “I don't try to ignore it because God usually speaks to me during those times. I didn’t feel like it, but I got up, went upstairs and began writing.”
It was in this space that Jeremy wrote “Whatever May Come,” a song he told CP is a “declaration that, no matter what happens, whatever we’re facing, we’re going to call on the name of the Lord because He’s the only one that can heal heartbreak.”
After working together on the song bridge, Jeremy and Adrienne recorded “Whatever May Come” and put it on social media — and the response was astounding. Over 7 million people listened to the song, with hundreds sharing how the words brought them hope and encouragement.
“It was obvious that people were hungry for something to uplift them during this time,” Jeremy said. “We thought, maybe we should start putting more songs out. Almost immediately, God started giving us songs. It just kind of happened naturally. Before we knew it, we had an album. God gave us the words to sing when we were feeling down."
On Sept. 4, the Camps released the worship album The Worship Project. With titles including “We Turn Our Eyes (You Speak to My Fear)” and “Isn’t the Name,” the six-song EP is a worshipful, Scripture-laden reminder to seek the face of Jesus in times of suffering.
Produced by Grammy-nominated hitmaker Jordan Sapp (Tauren Wells, Jennifer Lopez, Jordan Feliz), The Worship Project marks the first time in their 16-year marriage, and in nearly four combined decades as artists, that the couple has ever released music as a duo.
Jeremy, whose music recently hit over a billion plays on Pandora, said the album is countering the idea that God is absent in times of pain. He pointed out that often, we are “so dictated by our circumstances that we don't realize that our circumstances shouldn't dictate our joy."
“The whole theme of this album is asking God to purify our hearts and teach us to walk in His ways. It’s all about gratitude and fixing our eyes on Jesus. It’s about letting our hearts be molded and shaped into who He is. That’s when we’ll see true change in our hearts and see through the lies around us.”
The song “Father I Thank You,” in particular, speaks to the idea of practicing gratitude in the midst of tribulation.
“It's really easy when you are going through trials and tribulations look at the negative,” Jeremy said. “This song is saying, ‘God I thank you for this breakthrough, for what you've done in my life. I thank you for how you saved my soul.’ It’s the moment of understanding God's goodness in the midst of the pain and how the Father is an embracer of His children.”
Adrienne added that for many, COVID-19 has provided the space to listen to God's voice, deepen their relationships and reevaluate priorities.
“People keep talking about the Enemy but I've really seen the hand of God in all of this," she said. It’s been a big reality check of what are the relationships we've poured into? What are our relationships like with our husband and children we’ve had to quarantine with? What are we like without church on Sunday? Do we have a solid relationship with God? We can either be super negative about the season, which really is probably really easy to do, or choose to look at these growth opportunities just with gratitude."
“When our hearts are exposed, we can just come to the Lord because He cares enough about us to show us those areas that need attention, growth and healing. I’m so thankful that in the midst of everything, God really does meet us in all of that our trials,” she added.
Jeremy agreed that the pandemic has shown both the “best” and “worst” in people and stressed the importance of asking, “God, what are you trying to teach us in this moment?”
“Everyone keeps saying, ‘I want things to get back to normal.’ But I think we need to say, ‘I want a new normal.’ Hopefully, we are experiencing breakthroughs and resets that are so needed in our culture right now.”
In “We Turn Our Eyes,” the Camps incorporate words from the 18th-century hymn “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” a song Adrienne said is a lifelong favorite.
“There's something about getting back to the basics of our faith,” she explained. “With all the crazy messages that the world is constantly bombarding us with, it’s important to remember that at the end of the day, we need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We can bring it down to simply learning to love God and loving people around us. There’s so much beauty in simplicity. These old hymns have such solid profound truths.”
Jeremy acknowledged that for many people, the pandemic has spurred on feelings of fear, anxiety and depression. He encouraged those struggling to go back to God's Word and read what it says about Jesus.
“All throughout Scripture, you see He’s always the fulfillment of what we need,” he said. “Whether we need a comforter, a provider, a shelter, a refuge, strength, truth, water or bread of life, He’s exactly what we need. My encouragement would be to go back to God’s Word and realize that He will provide whatever you are needing. He’s everything we need. He provides all the things that we need whenever we're experiencing the emotions we're feeling.”
Adrienne also addressed the importance of being “honest” in this season — both with others and with God.
“Tell the Lord about what you’re going through,” she said. “I think for those that are really struggling, just know you're not alone. There are so many people that are struggling. Know that God really is everything that you need. God has called us to live in relationship with one another. Call a friend and just be honest about where you are. Pray together. Know that this too shall pass.”
Jeremy added, “God is big enough. He's in control. He's aware of what you're going through. He is already aware of the situations around you. He's aware of your needs, just express them.”
The couple, who recently released a book on marriage, titled In Unison: The Unfinished Story of Jeremy and Adrienne Camp, also offered a word of encouragement to couples struggling amid COVID-19. Recent reports reveal that interest in divorce — especially among newlyweds — has soared over the last few months.
“Not every day is a honeymoon,” Adrienne admitted. “There are some days I have to go to the Lord and say, ‘I don’t have love in my heart. I need you to give me what I don’t have.’ The amazing thing about God is that He's supernatural, which means He is above our natural abilities. That's exactly why we need to go to Him, because in the difficulties of marriage, we don't have that natural ability to love the way we're supposed to.”
“God gives us supernatural abilities when we surrender everything to Him. He takes those things and replaces them with something that we didn't have in and of ourselves. That’s the beauty of having Jesus a part of our relationships.”