Howard Brown – faith carried him through
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. - Isaiah 40:31
Sometimes things happen in life that leave people doubtful, and despite how grounded you are in your beliefs, there are times you may find yourself wondering... questioning God.
Howard Brown, 2013 winner of the JCDC Gospel competition has had his faith tested and for a split second, he too wondered and questioned.
Entering the competition four times before was not what triggered his disbelief. That was a result of the death of his mother.
"It was hard because during her sickness, I pray and believed that God would've healed her. When she died, I lost all faith in God and what I had believed in, because I thought God wasn't listening to me," he said.
It was during this process Brown scripted what would become his winning song.
"I wrote the first two verses right after she died, while in high school. The bridge and other arrangements didn't come until the year I entered it in the competition. I was upset but consoled myself during the writing process," Brown said.
The song was titled A Word From You and saw a young man who had recently suffered great loss, pleading and surrendering to God, his only source of strength.
"I stand in your presence once again; I need a word from you. I've tried so many times, but I failed along, so I give you everything I own."- A Word From You.
The now 28-year-old man told Family & Religion that winning the competition proved to him that God had it all planned out, revealing that if it had not been for the experience, he would not have written the song nor would he be able to sell it each time it is sung.
"To an extent, I've come to the acceptance that she was suffering and God saw it fit (to take her). Believe me, it took years to say that, but it's a level of spiritual maturity.
"This development started while I was in the competition. During that time I was led to go on eight days of fasting. This, I believe, gave me the spiritual strength I needed and I have carried that mentality with me. There is nothing that prayer and fasting can't take you through. Winning the competition has helped in my development in that it showed me that once I commit to God and do my part, He will always grant me favour," he said.
Brown revealed that it has always been his dream to enter the JCDC Competition and that he knew he had the ability be a renowned name in the gospel industry, so despite his previous failures and discouragement from those around him, he made up his mind to persevere.
Set to release his first single and ultimately his first EP since his win, the singer and song writer told Family & Religion that he hopes to encourage the nation to believe.
"In recent times persons have been losing hope in themselves and in life. It is my aim to remind people that God is faithful to the end and all we need to do is come together," he said, adding that his genuine love for people led him to be pursuing a degree in social work.
"My plans are to continue to make valuable contribution to the gospel industry and to help everyone I come across in whatever way I can. I also want to start an initiative that seeks to empower and develop youths and their God-given talents because the same way I needed a medium and guidance, many youths out there need that push," he said.