Legendary Songwriter Don Moen Reveals Heartbreaking Story Behind 'God Will Make a Way'

Don Moen
Award-winning songwriter and worship leader Don Moen has written more than 100 songs over his decades-long career. |

"God Will Make a Way" is one of the most well-known worship songs of all time, inspiring millions around the world with its hopeful lyrics.

But according to legendary Christian singer-songwriter and worship leader Don Moen, the song was born out of extreme tragedy.

"I got a call from my mother-in-law late one night, and she told me that my wife's sister and her husband, Craig and Susan Phelps, had been involved in a tragic car accident while taking their kids on a ski trip," he recounted to The Christian Post. "All four of their children were thrown out of the vehicle, and the oldest, a 9-year-old boy, was killed instantly. The other three were seriously injured."

"It was life-altering; I didn't know what to say to them," he continued. "Craig was a Bible teacher at his church, and they were both full of faith. As I sat on the plane, wondering what I should say to them, I began to read in the book of Isaiah, and chapter 43, verse 19 stood out to me: 'I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.' Instantly, the Lord gave me a song to sing to them."

Privately, Moen performed the song for his grieving in-laws, which includes the poignant lyrics, "Oh, God will make a way/Where there seems to be no way/He works in ways we cannot see/He will make a way for me."

"It was a song written in desperation, but it brought a word of hope to them," he told CP. "When everything around you seems lost, God is working in ways you cannot see."

"God Will Make a Way" would become the award-winning hallmark song of Moen's career, sung by millions around the world. He shares the inspiration behind the song in his debut book, God Will Make A Way: Discovering His Hope in Your Story, releasing on Oct. 16 on Emanate Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson.

"I've never written a book before and I thought, 'If I'm going to write one, I'm going to write about something that was a life-changing experience,'" he said.

In his book, Moen uses personal stories and Scripture to remind readers that God does not forget His children and remains faithful — even when all hope seems lost.

"So often, people look at their lives and everything is going fine," he said. "Then you lose your job, go through a divorce, lose a family, or receive a devastating health diagnosis. These things can rock your world and you think, 'How am I going to find hope in my story?' All they can see is hopelessness."

"I want people to know that God is with them in spite of loss and hopelessness. If you look close enough, you can see the hand of God in your life."

God Will Make a Way features a foreword from world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao, whom Moen referred to as a "friend" and a "personal hero."

"I met Manny in the '90s, and we've since become good friends," he said. "I don't ever want to take advantage of my friendships with people, but because he believes in the message — that God will make a way for him — he wanted to write the foreword to the book. When he was just a little boy and had nothing, God made a way for him. The song resonates with Manny and with Filipinos all over the world. It's become sort of a theme song."

The award-winning songwriter, who has sold over five million records during his career, told CP that his music is birthed out of his deep love for Christ and desire to speak to the human experience.

"If you analyze my songs, you'll see that a lot of them are prayers," he said. "Life situations motivate me. I'm not the kind of songwriter that sits down in the morning and writes a song; I want to write songs that go beyond the intellect and emotion and really reach deep and touch people in their spirit. That's what will change a life.

"I want readers to know that God isn't finished with them. He is going to do something new and make a road in the wilderness."

To learn more about God Will Make a Way, click here.

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