He was like, baby, baby, baby, oh. And with bathed eyelids we gasped with relief, finally, somebody to love!
Justin Bieber was cute, harmless and easily likeable. We all either envied his meteoric rise to stardom, or reveled in it. He could sing, burst a move or two, and quickly outshined his mentor Usher.
But we had seen this happen before. It was just less than a decade earlier we had Jesse McCartney step into the limelight at a tender age and then disappear suddenly.
Many prophesied that as soon as his voice cracked, Justin would be out of business too. But that didn’t happen (not his voice cracking, no that definitely did). Instead, he convinced teen chicks everywhere that if he was their boyfriend, he’d never let them go.
And even us guys couldn’t help but turn ‘As Long As You Love Me’ to our anthem of love. Because, let’s be honest guys, them Don Moen tracks just weren’t cutting it anymore.
Most of all, he was harmless. Even Pastor Tee couldn’t rebuke you for listening to a track about unconditional love. Yet he obviously wasn’t perfect.
His mum, as a single parent, had raised him with Christian values. Values which he admitted had been eroded. He stated in an interview that his mother did not approve of his sagging, but a member of his entourage had convinced him to wear his pants as such.
Justin was safe, that is until the paparazzi started getting on his nerves. Haters were more vocal, booing him at the VMAs. And he started having regular spouts with members of the press.
To top it off, his romance with Nickelodeon breakout Selena Gomez turned sour. Then he didn’t make music for a bit and people said ‘A-ha, another shooting star disappears into space.’ But once again they were wrong.
Justin returned with undeniably his best album to date. And it is here that we began to see not only great triumph but incredible tribulation.
The album was named ‘Purpose’ and yes it had ‘Sorry’, and ‘Love Yourself’, but it also portrayed a Justin that had found faith.
It is here that his relationship with Pastor Carl Lentz began to flourish. And Justin began to freely share the gospel. (at one point the link in his instagram bio was to Hillsong Uniteds ‘I Surrender’ YouTube video.)
Now I know what you’re thinking. ‘abegi, na today? A few references to Jesus don’t make Justin Bieber a believer.’
But he says he is. …And if you can’t take his word for it, then take Pastors Brian Houston and Carl Lentz words for it. That’s like Oyedepo and Adeyemi stating Olamide Sneh has converted. Men of God, mostly, don’t lie.
But all this only enraged so called ‘progressive’ Americans even more. Not only was Justin Bieber now in their eyes an untalented jerk, he was also a bigot Christian (Amongst certain liberals in America and even here in Nigeria, the terms ‘bigot’ and ‘Christian’ are considered mutually inexclusive).
Even Justin’s acquaintances threw shade, with one stating that Justin’s faithfulness to Hillsong Church is no less than cultism.
Indeed the young superstar has a lot on his plate. But heaven rejoices as should we, about the fact that he has found The Way, The Truth and The Life.
Yet there are many hurdles ahead. How can he reconcile his relationship with God with super stardom?
Will the world that once embraced him do the same now? How will the Pastors in his life guide him without snuffing out his flair? If he stumbles, will it be bad PR for the church?
All these questions are indeed valid, but ultimately pale in comparison to the beauty of the fact that even when millions of people are screaming your name, you can still hear God’s still, small, voice saying “I am yours, you are mine and I love you”.