For more than a decade, Luke Bryan has been hypnotizing country music fans with his sultry voice, uplifting lyrics and his charming personality.
Although the country superstar seems to have it all, Bryan’s secret struggles tell the story of someone who’s faced unfathomable tragedies in life — and overcame them with a strong faith in God.
I’ve always love Luke Bryan, but after hearing his testimony, I love him even more!
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” – Romans 5:3-4
Fans were heartbroken when Luke Bryan’s tour crew was severely injured in a car accident a few weeks ago. The wreck was so horrifying that three men from Bryan’s tour crew were rushed to the hospital in a helicopter and it’s a miracle they even survived. Their vehicle had gone airborne, which then hit a tree and came to rest on its side in a water-filled ditch, about 150 feet from where it left the road. When the local fire department arrived on the scene, they found one of the men thrown outside of the vehicle and the other two were trapped inside, which took the jaws of life.
Little did Bryan’s fans know, the car wreck was a vivid flashback to one of his most heartbreaking chapters in life — a lingering pain that haunts him to this day.
Luke Bryan grew up in rural Georgia, where his dad sold fertilizer and his mom worked for the public utilities. Bryan’s family was extremely tight-knit and as the youngest of three, he had an indescribable bond with his brother and sister. However, nothing could prepare Bryan’s family for the upcoming tragedies — but thankfully their strong faith in God helped them persevere.
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9
Bryan was only 14 when he started playing guitar, and as a youth group leader for his church, he would rewrite country songs with Christian lyrics. But 6 years later, Bryan’s life changed forever in an instant.
Right before Bryan was about to move to Nashville to pursue his country music dream, his 26-year-old brother Chris died in a tragic car accident. True to his family values, Bryan decided to put his Nashville dreams on hold.
“I was never convinced I’d get back to Nashville, but I didn’t spend time on ‘Should I go or should I not?’” Bryan tells People (quote via CMT). “It was just ‘Not going.’ Your mother had just lost a child. At that point, her youngest son was not going to leave the house. Chris’ dying got me a little more mature.”
Instead of pursuing his passion, Bryan stayed with his family and went to college, then started working for his dad’s business — but country music remained his true calling. With his dad’s blessing, Bryan headed to Nashville in 2001. Little did his family know then, tragedy would strike them once again at the beginning of Bryan’s country music career.
Shortly after Bryan released his debut album featuring the 2007 hit “All My Friends Say,” his sister Kelly suddenly passed away when she was at home with her young son at age 39. But Bryan didn’t let that tragedy overshadow the light he found in Jesus.
“The losses gave me such a deep perspective of life; how tough it can get at any second,” he revealed. “You question it every day, but you have to revert back to your faith in God’s plan.”
That lingering pain gave Bryan’s 2013 ACM win a much deeper meaning. A few months after Kelly’s death, Bryan was named Entertainer of the Year. Overwhelmed with emotion, Bryan broke down in tears onstage after receiving the prestigious award.
“As a family, we cried for an hour backstage, There’s been three times in our life where we were that emotional — my brother’s death, my sister’s death and that night. With what we’ve dealt with, it was so fun to have the joy,” he recalled.
Although the cause of Kelly’s shocking death remains undetermined, Bryan has found peace through his devout Christian faith. Whenever Bryan wishes his sons could’ve met his brother and sister, Bryan reminds himself to trust in God’s plan — not his own.
“They never determined what happened. The autopsies, the coroner, no one could figure it out,” Bryan revealed. “My only older siblings … gone from the world, in a flash in two, two different, crazy, tragic manners, that … we’ll never know, and never understand. I don’t like that my sons are missing that side of my family. But someone else is deciding things.”
“Losing my brother changed me tremendously and losing Kelly, even more. I literally do not take one second for granted,” he said.
As if losing your only siblings unexpectedly at a young age wasn’t painful enough, Bryan would endure another shocking struggle that changed his family even more.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” – Romans 8:18
Amidst one of the most successful years of his career, Luke Bryan had to grieve another family loss when his brother-in-law, Ben Lee Cheshire, the widowed husband of Bryan’s sister Kelly, passed away from a shocking heart attack at age 46. The couple had three children.
When Bryan received the tragic news about his brother-in-law’s death, he cancelled his highly-anticipated performance at the 2014 CMT Artists of the Year show, where he was supposed to be honored as well. Instead, Bryan stayed true to his family values once again and dropped everything to be with his family in Georgia.
Bryan revealed how he and his family would’ve never survived the traumatic losses without support from their devout Christian faith.
“Your faith has to get you through all that. That’s not saying you don’t question it. But you just have to revert back to your faith in God’s plan, that you’ll be together again and that’s what you have to go on,” he revealed.
When I found out what Bryan did following the unexpected death of his brother-in-law, I admired him even more. If you’ve ever wondered what a godly man looks like, look no further than Luke Bryan — his testimony is about to inspire you even more…
Following the sudden death of his brother-in-law, Bryan decided to raise his 13-year-old nephew, Til. Bryan and his wife Caroline, who he married in 2006, asked Til to join their Nashville home with their two young sons, Bo and Tate. Til’s two older sisters visit often, and all three children now view the Bryans as parental figures.
“We feel like if we just stay positive through this, maybe we’ll be a positive inspiration for people that had these things happen to ’em. You just have to plow on and play the hand that’s dealt,” Bryan explained.
The circumstances were far from perfect, but Bryan’s faith in Jesus allowed him to find joy in tragedy. The country superstar says taking in his late sister’s children has been a blessing for his family.
“You don’t want to sound like you love having them so much that you’re glad it’s the situation. But we’re honored to be doing what we feel was the right thing,” he said.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
Just like any true conservative, Bryan prefers to keep his private life PRIVATE. However, he realizes that sharing his testimony through the celebrity platform God has blessed him with could inspire others struggling. Bryan wants people to know they’re not alone in their sorrow.
“If me telling my story moves people down a positive path of hope and getting up out of the bed and getting back going, then it’s certainly worth telling,” he explained.
Luke Bryan’s testimony reveals the strength and peace that can only be found in Jesus Christ. When the devil tried to detour Bryan’s country music dreams with traumatic family losses, Bryan’s devout Christian faith empowered him to persevere and reach heights most country singers will never see.
Instead of being bound by bitterness, Luke Bryan trusted in God’s plan. He didn’t blame the dealer or the other players for the cards he was dealt with — Bryan just made the most of the cards the dealer handed him, and won.
The world needs more celebrities like Luke Bryan – ones that share the light that can only be seen through Jesus Christ, in the midst of deceptive darkness.