As a 35-year member of Journey, Jonathan Cain could easily sit back and track the legendary band’s nearly 90 million album sales and collect royalties from writing or co-writing “Don’t Stop Believin’,” “Faithfully,” “Who’s Crying Now” and “Open Arms” (to name a mere four of his many international hits). However the piano player, rhythm guitarist and sometimes singer (who also logged time in acclaimed power pop band The Baby’s and hard rock super group Bad English) always stays relatively active as a solo artist, though when it comes to his brand new What God Wants To Hear (Identity Records—buy), longtime listeners may be surprised to learn of a reignited spiritual quest.
While the Hollywood Walk Of Fame’r has always had faith in his life, he went through various seasons of doubt and uncertainty that originally stemmed from a childhood trauma, but were eventually ironed out by a seemingly chance meeting with Pastor Paula White on a flight. Not only did what he deemed to be a God-ordained conversation give the rock star enough divine fuel to refill his tank, but the pair became friends, eventually started dating and wound up getting married. Here’s a closer look at the fascinating and inspirational turn of events, along with a deeper glimpse into the worshipful new album from an edited phone conversation between CCM Magazine and Cain.
CCM Magazine: Absolutely no pun intended here, but tell us about your faith journey throughout the years.
Jonathan Cain: I started out with a true love for Jesus when I was very young. My father was a very devout spiritual man who loved to pray and he was my mentor, really. He brought me into the Catholic church, knelt me down and said, “I want you to pray to Jesus.” “Who’s Jesus?” “Well He’s your savior.” It was very matter-of-fact for him and I would watch him pray and I would be mesmerized by just how devout he was. He would go into this trance and these tears would come down and I would say, “Dad, are you crying?” “No, those are tears for Jesus.” “Well I want those!” “You’re not praying hard enough” (laughter). He said, “You’ve just gotta keep calling Him. He’ll come.” I went to Catholic school and I sang Gregorian chants in Latin in one of the most elite choirs we had in school. My first look at music was the Lord’s music.
Then we had this terrible fire that hit our parish in 1958, Our Lady Of The Angels in Chicago, 100 children died and I just went distant with the Lord. When you’re only eight-years old, you don’t really understand the enemy very well, so I had a little numbing. But my dad gave me music and he said, “You were saved that day because the Lord has music in you and you’re going to have some supernatural things happen in your life with music.” He shipped me off to music lessons and was so certain that his son was going to be a star. I’ll never forget it, that’s truly a vision keeper right there! I was so blessed to have my dad. Even when I was a little angry of what happened with the fire, he kept covering over me and kept me in touch with the idea that God has saved me and I received that.
CCM: How did those mixed feelings land once adulthood hit?
JC: I sort-of had a breakthrough in an altar call in a Baptist church when I was about eighteen. So, some ten years later, I melted and had a breakthrough again. A pastor laid hands on me and that brought me back to the way of the Lord, so when my children were born, I was so thankful and wanted nothing more than to give them baptism and confirmation and some sort of structure with God. It was a Lutheran church, but my faith was still there.
[As the years went on], I was just kind of in and out of it, like a part-time Christian. My mind just wasn’t there. I still had so many questions about what had really happened. It goes back to that fire, right back to that day. I was so shaken as a young boy that certainly God could’ve done something that day and He didn’t. And I realized now that He was probably just as sad as we all were and I’m sure He cried with us that day.
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