Aaron Shust Sings Praises Whether Life Brings Joy or Pain
Aaron grew up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania then went to college studying Music Theory at Toccoa Falls College in Georgia. While in school, Aaron started playing in coffeehouses and churches. In 2000, Aaron began leading worship at a church in Duluth, which is where he recorded his first album. In 2006, the second single, My Savior, My God, was listed number one on six charts simultaneously, spent 30 weeks in the top five on the R&R Christian AC chart, and earned Aaron Dove Awards for Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year in 2007.
While he has enjoyed a hugely successful career in the Christian music industry, it has not been without pain and sorrow. One of his many hit songs includes My Hope is in You. “That became my mantra,” says Aaron. “We need to be able to cling to the promises of God whenever the world around us becomes unstable.” Aaron and Sarah’s second son, Nicky, was extremely ill as an infant having developed extreme food allergies known as anaphylaxis (pronounced ana-flax-is). “Nicky was in a really bad place at one time,” says Aaron. Doctors at the time said anaphylaxis doesn’t “just go away.” So little by little, after much prayer and a lot of diet changes, recent test results show that Nicky is healed. “The disease went from almost taking his life to being completely not in his body at all. Certifiably it is gone.”
Then their third son, Michael, was born with a heart defect. Within minutes after he was born, doctors also determined he had Down syndrome. When he was five months old, Michael had to undergo open-heart surgery. Just as things were looking up, doctors determined he was deaf. Every hearing test result showed no hearing in Michael’s left ear and very little hearing in the other. Sarah took Michael to a prayer conference in New York after doctors determined Michael would probably never hear and they prayed over him. When Sarah took him back to the doctor, the hearing test came back with a full range of perfect hearing. “Miracles happen and it’s just amazing,” says Aaron. “Our little boy can hear. It bolstered my faith.”
When Aaron leads worship in his home church or lifts his voice to praise God in concert, he sings with a renewed passion that comes from his life experiences. “Sometimes God chooses to heal and I don’t know why,” he says. “But we need to trust that His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and we just have to decide to trust.” Aaron further explains: “It’s a strong balance of saying, ‘Hey praise God because He heals and praise Him even when He doesn’t.’”
In the songs he writes or chooses to record, Aaron makes sure that the lyrics glorify God. “I want the listener’s perspective of God to be magnified. We don’t need to make God any bigger than He already is; I just want the person’s perspective of God to change,” says Aaron. He is often asked what songs he wrote because of his sons’ healings. “I’m not a storyteller,” he says. “I’m a worship leader. I haven’t discovered how to tell a story in a worship song. My songs are responses to who God is.” He will be singing God of Brilliant Lights.
For his Christmas album, Aaron wanted every moment to sound like Christmas complete with big orchestral sounds. They flew to Prague to record with the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra. “I wanted the album to point solely to Christ,” he says. “He’s the Prince of Peace. He’s the Mighty God. He’s the Savior born to set the captives free. There are times when I’m singing this and I get choked up. He’s the Promised One, the Messiah come.”