Jonathan Cain has been a member of the highly successful rock group, Journey, for nearly 49 years. But the songwriter behind hits like “Don’t Stop Believin” and “Faithfully” recently shared that God was the source behind the music, opening up about his personal faith journey in a powerful new interview.
The 72-year-old sat down with I Am Second and shared that his father and two near-death experiences influenced his Christian faith and his pursuit of God.
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My story begins with my father. When I was very young, I would go to church with him and watch him pray. And he would pray so fervently, and the tears would come down his cheeks,” Cain shared.
“And I wanted that so badly, and I said, ‘Can I go with you to Jesus?’ And he said, ‘You have to get your own walk with Jesus. Get your own relationship, John,'” he told the ministry.
Cain said a near-death experience during his childhood drew him closer to God. In the video, he described nearly drowning after stepping into a lake during a family trip to Arkansas.
While fighting to survive, the songwriter recalled a hand pulling him out of the water and a man giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
“I said to my parents, ‘I nearly died and it was only because of God, I’m here,'” said Cain. “It was also a wake-up call that God was preparing me to face life. You know, like this is not going to be easy.”
A few years later, in 1958, Cain witnessed 92 of his schoolmates and three nuns die during a massive fire at Our Lady of the Angels School.
“I was grateful to be saved, but I wondered what happened that day,” Cain said.
Cain previously told CBN he had a difficult time reconciling a loving God with a senseless tragedy and felt abandoned by Him.
“I stood there and watched it all,” he told CBN’s Faithwire. “I felt, at that moment as an 8-year-old, that God had abandoned us. And where was my Jesus? Where was he?”
He says his father signed him up for music lessons, partly to help him cope with the pain, but also because he believed Cain had survived for a reason, that he had a bigger calling.
“He said … ‘Son, you were saved for something greater and that must be music.’ He got me straight to music school. And music seemed to be a redemption for me. I was able to set myself free,” he recalls.
Cain’s musical talents landed him in the band, The Babies, where he began to co-write many songs for the 1980s Union Jacks record.
Despite the success, Cain’s father, Leonard, always said he was meant for something greater. “My dad wasn’t impressed. He goes, ‘This isn’t it. There’s something else coming,'” Cain said.
In 1973, Cain joined Journey serving as songwriter, keyboardist, and vocalist. Although he struggled in the early part of his career, he always remembered a key piece of advice from his father.
“I had to call [my father] and I hated asking him for money. But, I said, ‘Dad, I just wonder, should I give up on this music dream and come home to Chicago and forget about it?'” Cain recounted.
“And there was silence for a minute. And then [my father] said: ‘John, this is your vision. No. You’re not coming home. Stay the course. Don’t stop believing.'”
Cain jotted the phrase “don’t stop believing” in his lyric book. Five years later, he and a fellow band member Steve Perry revisited it.
“I wrote a melody to have ‘a city boy and a small town girl on a midnight train going anywhere.’ I came in the next day, and it was history. I believe that is what got us into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. … Thank you, Dad,” he said.
Cain, who is now married to former Trump Faith Advisor Paula White Cain, says after the death of his father he was devastated, but God revealed that He was always with him.
“I didn’t think I would be able to carry on. I always wrote for him, I thought,” he shared.
“I said, ‘Everything I did, every note I played, I can trace back to my father.’ And then, God, His voice came to me as I sat weeping on the piano. He said, ‘No, John, it has been Me. It’s Me, John. It’s always been Me through him. But, I am the source. I am where it comes from, John,'” Cain heard the Lord say to him. “You please me.”
Cain tells I Am Second that he finally got the light bulb that God is the source behind the music.
“And I went, ‘Oh man. How did I miss that? … So You were the Guy in the room when I wrote ‘Faithfully.’ ‘I’m forever yours, Lord, faithfully,'” said Cain, citing the lyrics.
“It opened my eyes to the transcendence of a father reaching down to his son,” he shared. “Through his natural father, there is this Father, this Heavenly voice, that came to me and now I know where it all comes from.”
I Am Second is a nonprofit launched in 2008 that ignites hope and inspires people to live for God and for others. Its website, iamsecond.com, features written and film-based stories of more than 150 athletes, actors, models, musicians, cultural influencers and everyday people who have stepped in front of the camera and declared, “I Am Second.” For information, visit iamsecond.com.
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