Surviving the ‘Ironic Bomb’ that Nearly Destroyed Illijam’s Life
Illijam has a knack for seeing God’s hand in the midst of even the worst situations. He has absorbed emotional and spiritual bomb blasts and worked to rebuild the kingdom through the dust of the rubble.
On September 9th of 2016, Illijam unleashes his Ironic Bombs to the world, and only God knows the outcome of its fallout.
“The overarching theme of Ironic Bombs is every devastating bomb that drops on our lives is ironic because God is going to work it for good,” the emcee said. “It draws heavily on the promise of Romans 8:28 where God promises to work all things for the good of those who love Him.”
For Illijam, this album dives to depths of personal anguish that drastically altered the course of his life.
While in the past he hammered in a more theological message in his music, this time, he sought to put his pain at the forefront. He feels this move makes the record more relatable to people that are hurting.
“I suppose I’m going to depress people, and then I’m going to bless people,” he admitted, with a chuckle. “I want my story to serve as a dark backdrop in front of which God’s astounding ability to heal and work awful things for good will shine. I had to write an album that was honest about the depths of my suffering in order to accurately illustrate the miraculous way He got me through it.”
Illijam was in a committed marriage minded relationship for four years dating back to high school. As the pair entered college, their love for each other grew as did their love for the Lord. Then in February of 2014, she suddenly called everything off.
“I was really shocked and devastated,” he revealed. “I didn’t see it coming. And not only was it a romantic heartbreak, but she mentioned that there were other things going on that were causing her to doubt her faith.”
The artist said he felt the same anguish that Paul felt for his churches when he thought about them falling away from the Lord.
“I knew I was paralyzed from doing anything to help her because she didn’t want me in her life anymore. It was a double-edged sword: romantically & spiritually.”
Just months before, Illijam released a mixtape entitled Expiration Date. The premise was that everything in this world will expire, except for the Lord; therefore, God needs to be where one’s hope lies. Little did he know, this idea of the fleeting nature of things in this life would ring true – heartbreakingly so.
“I stopped music for a while,” he said. “I had no motivation, and my heart was very heavy. More than that, I felt that I needed to take time away from music so I didn’t say something I would regret.”
He took six to seven months off just to let God heal his heart. He knew full well that music would be the outlet to express his grief but didn’t know what that looked like yet.
God moves in a mysterious way. As Illijam was grieving & healing, the Lord crossed his path with that of a young lady at a new church he decided to attend. “I was back home after my junior year of college, and was looking to connect with a new group of young adults. In a very real sense, I was trying to relearn how to live. I wasn’t looking for a relationship; I was nowhere near ready. But God was up to something!”
They started talking during the summer. Illijam was concerned that he would begin dating too soon, as he knew ‘hurt people hurt people’. “I was still hurting, but here God brings this beautiful, godly, compassionate woman into my life, and we start to become friends. Towards the end of the summer, I asked her for her address, so that we could write to each other. We began exchanging letters once our senior year of college started, and it was a huge blessing. It really helped me process some of what happened, and we got to know each other more deeply that way.” They began dating in the Fall of 2014.
“God brought her into my life a lot quicker than I thought. She was so patient with me and so strong. She had to endure me struggling to let go of another woman, which was very difficult. When we love someone, it’s almost as if they become tattooed on our hearts. And when the relationship ends, the impact is as permanent. It takes a long time to fade. My heart was just still so divided,” he shared.
In time, God strengthened their relationship and they were engaged December 12, 2015, and eventually married on July 3rd of this year.
“God has truly restored my heart and blessed me more than I could ever ask for,” he said. “The album will take listeners from my ground zero all the way to my wedding day, more or less – it’s the story of a grief observed, and what God taught me through it. It’s very personal, but I’ve endeavored to make it general enough that anybody who is hurting could be encouraged by it.”
Writing Ironic Bombs was difficult for Illijam. It required him to dredge up deep pain, and it was a strain on his soul & his relationship at times. Nevertheless, his dream of other suffering saints being encouraged by his story and the truths God taught him compelled him to keep working.
It wasn’t always easy for his wife, but Illijam tried to help her understand how the whole ordeal had affected him, and how he wanted to encourage others with it. She proved to be his strongest supporter in writing the album.
“This break-up truly was a dark time, and I told her that up front. She was very understanding of my need to process it and also understanding of my desire to tell the story to help other people.”
He continued, “This album feels risky. I recognize how some might misunderstand it; the beginning of the album honestly recounts feelings I truly felt, though it never condones them. I simply desire to report what I felt (because hey! Maybe others have too), what God delivered me from, and how good He is. I emphatically did not write Ironic Bombs in order to be spiteful. My heart is to comfort folks with the comfort God gave me.”
The rapper says that there’s a lot of dark in the world but God has promised to work all things for good. The best example he can give is the cross and the price Jesus paid during an excruciating crucifixion. Jesus took on the sins of the world so that we may have salvation and eternal life.
“In my life, I was able to see how God was working some aspects of this bomb for good in a very tangible way – I am very happily married to a woman I love and who I fully believe is God’s perfect will for me,” said Illijam. “But I’m hoping this album will speak to people who might never see how God works their bomb for good in this life. I too still have a lot of questions from the bombs in my life, but I’ve found rest in God’s promises. Sometimes, the only closure is faith.”
He continued, “I long for people to understand that every bomb that drops on their lives is ironic because God has promised to work it for their good. Whether they see the good in this life or not, this truth still gives us hope to press on in faith.”
The biggest promise Illijam can give is that “Jesus satisfies.” He says the human heart was designed to be most satisfied when it is in covenant with God and when it is “reveling in His glory” and “reflecting that to the world.”
“We can scoff when Satan tries to tell us that something bad will ruin us, because we know that God is going to cause it to work out for our good,” he said. “There is no scheme the devil or man can employ to truly ruin God’s Saints. Jesus will manipulate evil into giving His children what is best for them.”
Illijam survived an explosion that tried to shake his faith and rattle his spirit. And while a wave of grief spilled over him, he sought shelter in the fortress of his leader, Jesus. Eventually, it became time for him to surface, and God provided beauty in the ashes.
“God already worked the worst bad for the best good, so we can fully trust that He will work our lesser, though still difficult, trials for our good.”
Pick up Ironic Bombs on September 9th and get more info on Illijam here.
Take a moment to think, and then share your testimony in the comments. What are some ironic bombs that have occurred in your life?