John Cooper, the frontman and bassist for the Grammy-nominated Christian rock band SKILLET, recently spoke to blogger and podcaster Alisa Childers about the role religion has played in his life, particularly his relationship with his mother and father.
He said (see video below): "My mom loved the Bible. And I can't remember ever living without my mom reading the Bible to me. I had an older brother, and I remember, when he was young, before school, he was five or six years old, my mom would sit both of us down. And I was two [or] three years old, and my mom started teaching us to memorize scripture.
"My mom just taught me, when she was sick with cancer, she'd say, 'John, if God doesn't heal me, you cannot be mad at God, because everything he does is good. Everything he does is right.' And we know, because the Bible says that all things work together for the good of those who love Christ, according to his purposes. My mom taught me that as a kid, and I just believed it.
"When my mom passed away when I was 14, I experienced a really hard time," he continued. "I mean, my mom's death was hard enough, but my dad remarried two months after my mom died. And me and my dad started an epic battle of will that, when I graduated high school, I moved out the day after I graduated — 'See ya. Hope to never see you again.' I didn't want my dad at my wedding. I wanted nothing to do with my dad, to be honest with you. But I will say this: me and my dad have a good relationship now. Forgiveness, amazing restoration because of God and how faithful God is.
"That's what was so hard for me, and that is when I experienced the hardest time of my life. I was on my bed one night, [at the age of] 14, [with] me and my dad fighting. And I just was, like, 'God, I am just angry.' Plus, I was becoming a man, and you're vengeful, and sometimes you're wrathful. I mean, let's just say it — you're a dude, and one little thing happens that might not be the biggest deal in the world, but it angers you to a point that's hard to describe and you sometimes wanna physically hurt somebody.
"One night, I remember praying, 'God, will you cause my dad to try to physically hurt me, so that I can physically hurt him?'" John added. "And I actually believed that God was gonna do this for me. That's twisted; I know it's twisted. 'God, will you give me a chance to hurt my father for what he's done to me?' And I remember praying one night in my bed. I was, like, 'God, I know you're my savior. I know you're my lord, but I need a friend. And could I know you like a friend?' And I always get emotional when I talk about this, because I had this amazing experience. I felt it in my heart, I felt it in my head — whatever it was. It wasn't an audible voice of God; it was in my head. But I just knew in that moment that God said, 'Yes, I am a friend to you, but I am also a daddy.' And my heart broke that night.
"God changed me so drastically that there's no way that I can have any life without knowing that the word of God never changes," Cooper said. "He's a refuge and a strength, a present help in times of trouble, the Bible says. So that grounded me. And if there's anything that's ever been real in my life, it has been [that] he never changes. People are gonna die. All these things are going to happen — pandemics are gonna happen. Fighting with your dad probably is gonna happen. With your spouse… Life is going to be brutally hard — we know that for a fact — but Jesus is the refuge; Jesus is our strength. And that is what has grounded me. And that's why I love telling people about Jesus, because you too can be grounded.
"If you're listening to this, I don't care how hard your life is, your life can be grounded in an unshakeable foundation. Doesn't that sound good?"
The Memphis, Tennessee-born Cooper, who lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin, recently released his debut book, "Awake & Alive To Truth (Finding Truth In The Chaos Of A Relativistic World)". "Awake & Alive To Truth" tackles the reigning philosophies of our day of post-modernism, relativism, and the popular view of the goodness of man-and combats these viewpoints by standing on the absolute truth of the Word of God. "Awake & Alive To Truth" answers some of the most asked questions in modern culture. Cooper takes readers on a journey through personal stories, the doctrine of original sin, the authority of Scripture, the danger of trusting your emotions, and ends with the greatest news possible: God wants to rescue you from the chaos and the darkness and bring you into His glorious light.