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Gospel Music Star Karen Peck Gooch: How God Is Using the Pandemic Right Now

Karen Peck Gooch and New River

Karen Peck Gooch (center), lead singer of Karen Peck & New River, says God is turning around what the enemy meant for evil. (Photo: Karen Peck and New River/Facebook.)

Some might say we live in a post-truth culture. Anything goes. But what happens when tragedy strikes, such as a worldwide pandemic? In those moments, we can’t rely on what feels true. We need a hope that’s real.

Award-winning Gospel singer Karen Peck Gooch says people are beginning to turn to Jesus in a greater way to find that hope.

“What I see out there is people who have been through the hardest times of their lives, but they’re holding on to their faith,” she says. “They’re holding on to knowing that Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us. Holding on to the fact that everything that’s happened in our lives has already passed through Him, and that He allows these hard times and these trials for a reason.”

That statement comes from experience. Gooch has spent 30 years singing about God’s goodness with her group, Karen Peck and New River. No matter how many setbacks Gooch has faced, God has always come through and the band has kept on thriving. Since Karen Peck and New River formed in 1991, they’ve earned five Grammy nominations and won GMA Dove Awards on seven separate occasions. In 2018, Gooch was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame.

A Step of Faith

In the last year, Gooch has seen God using the pandemic to draw people closer to Him. What our spiritual enemy has meant for evil, God is turning around for good—and it may look different for each person.

“I think God has shifted the church,” she says. “I feel like He shifted all of us who are trusting Him no matter what. He’s shifting us to another level of faith and a deeper relationship with Him. Even as a songwriter, my writing is deeper now. In all genres of music, we’re going to see the most incredible music and songs we’ve ever heard in our lives. Preachers will preach sermons that seem to be straight from heaven.”

Gooch marvels at how God set things in place to strengthen His people even before the pandemic began. For instance, before word of a strange new virus ever hit the nightly news, Abraham Productions (API) was beginning to plan the largest Christian music festival in the world—set to launch this coming August.

Gooch, who sits on the board of API, says she knows it was God when the promotion company’s president, Ray Flynn, presented his idea for 40 straight days and nights of Gospel music and preaching. While such a long event might seem ludicrous to some, Gooch immediately recognized it as a God-led venture.

After all, the number 40 has biblical significance. During Noah’s Flood, it rained 40 days and 40 nights while God kept His remnant safe within the Ark. The Israelites wandered the desert 40 years until they came into the Promised Land. And Jesus fasted 40 days in the wilderness after the Holy Spirit came upon Him.

So what do 40 days and nights mean for this upcoming Gospel music event? Gooch says it represents a radical step of faith.

“The goal is to reach people for Christ,” she says. “That’s why I think we’re going to see many people come to know the Lord during these 40 days and 40 nights. And I do believe there are going to be a lot of seeds of faith that will be planted during that time as well. And in the meantime, they’re going to have fun!”

The event will take place at Answers in Genesis’ very own Ark Encounter. So in between musical performances and preaching, people can explore the life-size Ark, pet live animals at the Ararat Ridge Zoo, watch movies, zipline, enjoy the family playgrounds, and more.

Click here to find out more about 40 Days and 40 Nights of Gospel Music at the Ark Encounter. Hotels are booking up quickly, so make sure to reserve your spot soon!