@grangersmith / Instagram | Inset: Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com

Almost five years after his 3-year-old son River died in a tragic drowning accident, Granger Smith is sure of one thing: suffering has a way of drawing people closer to God. The 44-year-old “Backroad Song” singer told The Christian Post, “For reasons that we don’t fully know, God’s plan will always involve suffering in this present world; pain and suffering draw us nearer to God, and God uses that for many purposes. As a father, I wouldn’t want my children to grow up in a perfect utopia.”

Smith continued, “I want to introduce suffering that I know they can handle so that it produces in them a greater good. Suffering has a way of doing that in all things. It’s not just people; this is how metals are refined, with heat and pressure. So, why wouldn’t a Heavenly Father, who is far superior to anything I could ever imagine as far as planning, nurturing, caring and providing, also introduce suffering into our lives for the greater good or His greater glory? We see this epitomize itself at the cross when Jesus enters humanity in the flesh to involve Himself in suffering. We have a God who is near to the brokenhearted.”

Today, Smith said he and his wife, Amber, and their four children are doing “great. “He said, “It almost feels unfair to even say that because we’ve been through so much. But it is only by God’s grace that we are doing well. The kids are doing well. Amber and I are doing well. The sun really is shining upon our family right now. We’re in a beautiful season right now. That doesn’t mean that it’s without sadness or without grief, but it does mean that it can coexist with joy.” In April 2023, Smith announced that his “Like A River” tour would mark the end of his country music career and that he would be entering the ministry full-time to serve the local church.


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Currently a student at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, the former country star said he wants to be “equipped” to speak about current issues from a biblical worldview. He said, “There’s a lot of really wise people, by God’s grace, that have been pouring into me a lot. My goal is to be able to speak that language in a way that whatever audience I’m in front of can understand. I don’t want to come in with all this book knowledge; I want to be able to discern what’s the right thing to say in the moment that’s based on the Bible.

Smith continued, “I want to speak from what the Bible says, and then in light of my feelings, instead of my feelings dictating what the Bible says. There’s a lot of bad theology out there based on feelings and how we’re reacting to the world around us, and we’re reacting and creating theologies without even knowing it. It’s really, really dangerous.”

Last year, Smith released Like a River: Finding the Faith and Strength to Move Forward after Loss and Heartache, in which he candidly discussed his path through grief.

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