Sometimes when we pray, we get an answer immediately and it’s the answer we want. Other times, we have to wait for an answer—often to the point where we wonder if we’ll ever get one. And sometimes even then, God reveals that He has a different plan in store.
When Christian singer Jeremy Camp’s soon-to-be wife was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, everyone around her prayed for her to be healed—and that prayer was answered. Melissa was miraculously cured. They got married and were excited to share their story with the masses and bring glory to God.
But God hadn’t finished revealing His plan for them. On their honeymoon, Melissa’s cancer returned. Sadly, there wasn’t a miraculous cure this time around.
But Melissa continued to believe that God was going to use her. She told Jeremy that if only one person’s life was changed by her story, “it [would] be worth it.” I Still Believe tells Melissa and Jeremy’s story. And it tells not only of their incredible love and the tragic loss they faced, but how the young couple maintained their faith in God through all of it.
Jeremy and Melissa’s love for one another is palpable, and the first act of their story on the big screen is a faith-infused romance as they face various obstacles in their relationship—including some that seem as if they’ll end that relationship before it even starts.
When Melissa is first diagnosed with cancer, Jeremy ends his Christmas vacation with his family early to be with her, rekindling their relationship after a rocky patch. He takes a semester off school in order to take care of her and keeps her company during doctors’ appointments. He reassures her that she’s beautiful and will be well again. She, in turn, encourages him to pursue his budding music career and reminds him that God has a plan for their lives.
Melissa and Jeremy are both very close to their families, sharing lots of hugs and telling them that they love them. Jeremy pays special attention to his younger brother, Josh, who has Down syndrome, and he gives Josh a cell phone so he can call Jeremy at school. Melissa’s sister is grateful to Jeremy for putting Melissa’s needs first and offers to take turns with him staying with Melissa in the hospital.
Jeremy’s parents are very hesitant about Jeremy getting engaged to Melissa, since they’re so young and she’s so sick. But his mother still gives Jeremy her engagement ring to give to Melissa when he proposes.
Many emotionally wrenching scenes throughout the film depict the difficulty of trying to come to terms with such a tragic loss. At different points, we see her crying from the pain and doctors talking about how the disease has spread, her treatment options and the odds of her survival. And after Melissa discovers her cancer has returned, she locks herself alone in a bathroom so that she can cry in private.
Melissa is visibly upset when her hair begins to fall out and she has to shave it. We see the pieces fall to the ground as she does so. She is also devastated when a doctor tells her that she needs a hysterectomy and won’t be able to have children.
After Melissa dies, Jeremy briefly goes into a catatonic state. His dad picks him up off the floor so he can receive Melissa’s death certificate, and he is carried out of the hospital by his dad and Jean-Luc. He is seen crying at Melissa’s funeral, during a thunderstorm and after reading Melissa’s journal. These poignant scenes are hard to watch, but they paint a realistic picture of what grief looks like, even for someone who’s comforted by faith.
Jeremy meets and becomes good friends with another musician named Jean-Luc, the lead singer of his favorite band and a mutual friend of Melissa’s. Jean-Luc mentors Jeremy, giving him advice about writing music and even helping to launch Jeremy’s music career and supporting Jeremy and Melissa when she gets sick.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and indulging in her “nerdom,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything she loves, such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.