"You Don't Have to Be Someone's Savior": What the Piano Guys' Steven Sharp Nelson Learned From Supporting Others After Tragedy


Steven Sharp Nelson is arguably the most-watched cellist in the world. As a member of the Piano Guys, his music is watched and listened to over three million times every day. And yet, as a member of the popular music group, he and his groups are not immune to hardship. On this week’s episode of All In, Nelson shared with host Morgan Jones what he has learned from trials over the last few years.

Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts here or read a full transcript here.

The following excerpt has been edited for clarity. 

Morgan Jones: You guys have gone through some hard things together. Specifically, a few years ago, Jon's daughter, Annie, was missing and then later found, and she passed away. How did that experience bring you all closer? And what did you learn through that process?

Steven Sharp Nelson: There [are] so many things, it would be hard to summarize, but I'll do my best. First and foremost, Michelle and Jon are valiant souls. And to watch them handle this differently—Michelle and Jon handled this very differently. But to watch them, again, pray for that unity and pray to meet in the middle where both of them stood regarding how to—I mean, at one point, Michelle felt very strongly that Annie had passed away and it was okay to let her go. And Jon, conversely, was convinced she was still alive and they had to continue to search. But what they did is they relied on the Lord, and they did so together, and to watch that was a sublimely beautiful experience and inspiring. And there's nothing like watching one of your best friends walk up a river, ice-cold, yelling his daughter's name, and knowing that there's little if anything you can do. And to feel totally helpless reminds you that we are dependent upon God. And even though I couldn't be his savior or Annie's savior in that moment, we should never really want that. I mean, I think that's going above and beyond what we are—that job is taken, and it's overfilled, in fact, it's overflowing. I could be his friend, and I could be his business partner. And I could be there and say, "Jon, if you need three months with your family"—which is I don't remember how long it was—we kept Piano Guys rolling, we kept it going. And that is a partnership really. 

And I think that happens in relationships, in marriages—when one of you is low and stricken, the other steps in, and it goes back and forth. I remember in particular, a very difficult experience that Julie and I experienced—Julie in particular—when she lost her brother, when he took his own life. And I'll never forget on my knees, praying, you know, watching my wife, who is the most optimistic, most faithful person I know, just struggle to even take a step. I got on my knees and I said, "Heavenly Father, help me save her from this. Help me to take the pain away from her. Help me to make this right—fix it. I'm a fixer. A lot of us guys are, for heaven's sake, help me fix this." And I remember the Spirit, the Lord's voice through the Spirit gently telling me, "Please stop trying to be her Savior. That job is taken. Just be her husband." And I remember in that moment when that block was removed, when I was trying to be more than I was, you know, Ammon sinning in his wish, trying to be the trump to everybody and the angel that proclaims the gospel to everybody. Instead, I said, "I could do that." And all of a sudden, all these ideas started coming in, you know, "You could take Eli to this, and you could make dinner, and you could clean up this part of the house, and you could insist that she stays with her family for a couple of days just to commune with them while you take care of everything. And you take over that schedule, you be the best Mr. Mom ever in the history of mankind because that could be something you could do." And I think all of us can have that role. You don't need to be somebody's savior, you can just be their friend, their mother, their father, their brother, their sister, their husband, their wife. And that's something we can all do, and we can have inspiration within that as well. So that when we serve that person who needs us very most at that time, we need them the very most, we can be inspired in our service to the point where it really counts and really means something to them.

Listen to the entire episode here.

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