Luke Bryan Opens up About Painful Losses: 'That's How God Wanted It'

If anyone knows what it's like to live with loss, it's Luke Bryan. The father of two lost his brother when Bryan was getting ready to move to Nashville and just 19 years old. That followed by his sister, Kelly, in 2007, and then Kelly's husband, Ben, in 2014, left Bryan and his wife, Caroline, to care for his sister's three children, including Tate, who still lives with the Bryans.

"You just have to trust in God's plan," Bryan told PEOPLE. "You wake up every day and go, 'I've had unfortunate things in my life. I just have to trust that that's how God wanted it.' That's how I cope. Sometimes I cope well, but sometimes life does get me down."

Still, even when life does get Bryan down, it doesn't take long for him to see the silver lining in whatever he might be dealing with.

"I'll be on the road and I'll be complaining because a pipe burst in the house [or] something, but then I'll have a Make-A-Wish kid come through my meet and greet and it's like, 'You idiot, what are you complaining about?'"

"Going forward, I just have to try and keep it real and appreciate every day, appreciate where I'm at in my career and hopefully honor my family by my actions," he continued. "The beauty with my losses in my life is that my career has been a bright spot. My family and I have had so many wonderful moments because of my success."

Bryan's own personal challenges have also helped him as a judge on American Idol, where he will return for his third season on Sunday, Feb. 16.

"Being the fatherly figure, I've learned that there are many struggles kids are going through these days," Bryan acknowledged. "It's taught me that if I see some of these things in my kids, it's a real thing."

"I have my way I raise my kids, but that doesn't mean they're not going to have mental health problems. This show has taught me a broader view of what kids are dealing with in society," he added. "I just relish the opportunity to mentor these kids and mentor them through this crazy journey."

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Bryan just revealed the cover art and track listing for his upcoming Born Here, Live Here, Die Here record, which is currently available for pre-order on his website.

Photo Credit: Getty / Kevin Winter