Five Things We've Learned About Hope from Korn Guitarist Brian Welch

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Sometimes there's a moment when you feel your life start to change – a moment you look back on and say, "That, right there. That was when it began." Korn guitarist Brian "Head" Welch, had a moment like that. He was addicted, desperate and bogged down in destructive patterns that were threatening his most precious relationships. He found himself praying – asking Jesus for help, for relief, for freedom – and he had an experience of love that shifted his life toward hope.

Here are five things we've learned about hope from Brian and his story...

1. Hope and trust are linked

"The crazy thing was when I shot [my first I Am Second film], my life was really complicated...Everything I tried to do was failing, career wise, music wise. That went on for a few years, and I had these glimpses of like, 'Don't worry, you're getting crushed for a reason.'"

Hope isn't easy. When Brian left Korn to raise his daughter, he left his friends, his livelihood, and his community behind. He didn't know what his next steps would be. He couldn't see all the things that were to come, but he trusted the love he'd found in God enough to follow that hope forward, and let it keep him going even when the journey of recovery wasn't what he expected.

2. Hope takes patience and openness

"[Korn] invited me to play with them, and I played one song called 'Blind' – the crowd went nuts, the singer broke down in tears...It was very special, but I didn't know what it meant.

Sometimes a moment of hope is only the beginning. When Brian reconnected with his bandmates after 8 years apart, the pieces didn't fall back into place right away. It took time and patience and a willingness to hold his expectations of what was possible with an open hand.

3. Hope can be fulfilled in surprising ways

“I started getting a tug in my heart after reconnecting with those guys...and in 2012, I re-joined Korn, which was a surprise to many including myself."

Living with hope can lead us to places beyond what we expected or imagined.  It can restore things we thought were lost. It can heal things that were broken. Brian's recovery was a process. it took trust, patience and openness, and it led him back to a place he never thought he'd be again – but this time, at peace instead of desperate, and hope-filled instead hopeless.  

4. Hope is personal

"I followed God right back into Korn and He's there, and I'm not separated from them or the fans any longer...It says in the Bible [God’s] gonna restore all things. God is so good that he’s restored me in that way…he restored me in a way that’s unique to me.”

We hold our deepest hopes close.  Sometimes, we don't even speak them out loud.  Brian's dreams are unique to him.  Our hopes don't necessarily look like someone else's hopes. Sometimes, they lead us to a place that not everyone around us understands, but Brian put his trust in God who knows each of our hopes deeply and fully, and always leads us toward goodness.

5. Hope can be cultivated by helping others find it

“People need hope. There’s addictions like crazy in that world, there’s depression…it’s not the most popular thing to talk about Christ at a rock concert, but I’m doing it because it’s the most real thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”

During a difficult time, hope can feel like an elusive thing, small and slippery as a fish quick to escape our grasp. Stories like Brian's where God shows up and overwhelms hopelessness with love are powerful because hope is contagious. The more we help others find it, the more we have ourselves. The same is true of love.

You can watch Brian's full Second Edition here, as well as his original White Chair Film.  Also, look out for I Am Second's feature-length documentary, Loud Krazy Love, with Brian and his daughter Jennea, airing on Showtime December 14th.

Previously on Second Draft:
Five Things We Love About David and Tamela Mann
Singer-Songwriter Tori Kelly on Moving Beyond Comparisons
Of Mice and Men's Austin Carlile on Being Made New

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