JahazielA month ago, legendary Christian rapper Jahaziel walked away from his faith. He’d been a professing Christian for twenty years. Online magazine Rapzilla called him the most important U.K. artist in the history of Christian hip-hop. But Jahaziel couldn’t reconcile the mass killings in the Bible with the idea of a loving God.

He posted on Facebook saying, “You can believe the bible and its God all you want but to me he just demands my fear because he cannot earn my respect. I cannot possibly agree that he is love unless I ignore all the men, women and little children he has slaughtered throughout the entire bible…I have tasted and seen – and my conclusion is that Christianity (it’s flawed book, bloodthirsty god and mythical savior) I have found unsatisfactory and unworthy of my allegiance or worship unless by threatening to kill me if I don’t – as Christianity does.”

Kirsten PowersKirsten Powers, a Democratic commentator at Fox News, was an atheist for most of her life. Beautiful, bright, and successful, she had no desperate reason to need God. Christianity Today reported that Powers described herself as wavering “between atheism and agnosticism, never coming close to considering that God could be real.” She said, “I would never adhere to any religion—especially to evangelical Christianity, which I held in particular contempt.”

Her boyfriend at the time, wanted to get hitched but said he couldn’t marry a non-Christian. He asked her if she could keep an open mind about faith. That did it! Wanting to be seen as open-minded, she started attending Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City.

Pastor Tim Keller

Pastor Tim Keller

After eight months of listening to Pastor Tim Keller’s astute sermons, she decided the evidence supporting Christianity was there. Still, she didn’t feel any connection to God and thought people who said they heard God’s voice or had experiences were either delusional or lying.

Jesus Walks on WaterRight about that time, Powers took an overseas trip. One morning while sleeping, she experienced a strange cross between a dream and reality. In that instant, Jesus appeared to her and said, “Here I am.”

The experience was more than a little traumatizing. She tried to discount the experience as “misfiring synapses” but couldn’t stop thinking about it. Returning to New York she said, “I was lost. I suddenly felt God everywhere and it was terrifying…like an invasion. I started to fear I was going crazy.” She dreaded the idea of being like those people, Christians she derided as intellectually shallow.

Happy nerdy couple showing thumbs upThe dream upended her world and set her on a path to understand more. It took several years to embrace the changes happening to her. With knots in her stomach, she decided to join a Bible study. “In my mind, only weirdoes and zealots went to Bible studies.” She remembers standing outside the Upper East Side apartment afterwards. In reference to Christ, she said to herself, “It’s true. It’s completely true.”

Jahaziel walked away from Christ after twenty years. Kirsten Powers embraced Him after being “highly reluctant” for twenty years. What made the difference? Experiencing God.

Sublimity is “the instant when one thing is about to become something else. Day to night, caterpillar to butterfly. Fawn to doe, experiment to result. Boy to man,” wrote Anthony Doerr in his Pulitzer-winning novel, All The Light We Cannot See.

I’d include the instant where faith is sealed.

admin-ajax.phpWe could rehearse our theology and apologetics with someone like Jahaziel. I could point out that Jesus said we’d have tribulation here. We are just passing through, and death is only tragic if you believe it’s the end. I could show him verses like Isaiah 11:4 that say God will “decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth,” which I think includes people groups slaughtered in the Bible or any other culture or time in history. Or how about the dream I had when wrestling with the where-is-God-when-bad-things-happen question, and how God said in the kindest voice I’ve ever heard—

“It’s not about this life. Take note of that.”

But none of it would likely matter to Jahaziel. Debating questions of faith often gets ugly. He needs to encounter God like Kirsten Powers did.

Experiencing God doesn’t have to be a once-in-a-lifetime, mystical experience that one can only hope for. While we can’t make dreams happen, we can posture ourselves to receive something from God—like putting up a sail, believing the wind will come. And that’s what I write about here in this blog.

IMG_0335In the summer of 1930, Albert Einstein composed an essay he called, “What I Believe.” He concluded his credo with this statement…

“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed out candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense…I am a devoutly religious man.[i]

Part of hearing God’s voice and experiencing Him is about believing that supernatural things happen and loving the mystery of it! God’s voice may surprise you, but the texture of His words and His tone will be unmistakably full of love. Over time, His love can fill up every empty space, every longing, every unmet need and deep loss inside you.

hands holding the sun at dawnHis love is bigger than any human tragedy and better than life itself.

And one day, you can know in your knowing place that God is utterly real, and no person, thing, or circumstance of life can ever take that away.

If you know what I mean…share here.


[i] “Einstein & Faith,” Time, April 16, 2007, Walter Isaacson, 47, quoting from “What I Believe” by Albert Einstein, 1930. See also


  1. Yup. Thing is, we can believe it away. Explain it all away, if we want too. But its like God said to you ” its NOT about this life…..” If Christ went down to hell and preached, when He dies, as the bible says, then in a sense, I believe, He is doing that today, also, to give ALL a chance. On my blog I have written my take on what my take is when bad things happen. I have had more than my fair share of them. Does that stop me believing? NO! I NEED God, more than ever. I do not care if people think that my belief in God is a crutch. GOOD! They can choose a lack of God, if they want too, I’ll admit being a cripple and needing that crutch. Otherwise I would despair.

    And bno matter, though I do not understand, God IS Good. He said so. Its not that I don’t hate Him, fight Him, Curse Him. I DO! that’s what makes His love more precious. He loves me as much when I curse as when I praise – even more so – because He loves me as I am, in my sin, and He understands my sin comers from pain, and because I am His child. He is my parent. My Papa. He knows the end. He can smile when I can’t. When I am smashing Him with my words and fists, He can take it. More, He WANTS to take it! He does not want me to count the cost to Him, either! What human parent tells their child the cost and pain and tears that it took to bring them to adulthood? How many times we watched their back, kept our mouths shut, picked up their pieces? NONE of us! Do we hold them to account? NEITHER does He! No, we hold them in our arms, when they scream and when they cry and when they love. Just because we love them. And He does the same. For the JOY that was set before Him, that Joy was us, so we did not have to pay any cost. Because that is what our Papa wanted.

    THAT is what trust is, that is what love is. Its not that its easy. Its that it is necessary. We could not grow, would not dare to grow, with out His understanding of our sinful condition and His ACCEPTANCE of it! We need not fear. We may not understand, we may haste and hurt Him. But that does not mean He is not good. Its just we are children and do not see what He see’s. And that is HARD. That is why I think it was Paul who said, the angels watch in AWE, of us this side of eternity, who see through the glass so darkly and still trust.

    But even more amazing is that it is only possible exactly how you saids, Susan, by experiencing Him. Personally. I have had this. Why me? why not the rapper? Well, for me I HAVE chosen to walk away, and He still pursued me…………….still loved me, still literally, saved me. I don’t know why. I do not deserve even the crumbs off the table. Only He knows why He continues to bother with me, but literally, I thank Him he does! In fact thanking Him is just not a big enough word.

    If you are interested in my view of why bad things happen, that God does not stop, you may like to read it:

    I hope you do not mind me pasting my link, Susan.

    • Nicola… I love reading your take on things. Especially your testimony on how God pursued you when you walked away! Let’s pray for the same thing for Jahaziel! Fine to paste your link! Love Susan