Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8: 35, 37-39 (NIV)
Sadly, it would seem that she didn’t believe either of those promises from God for her life. Despite the reality that God clearly gifted Whitney Houston with a voice as none other. A voice that lifted and inspired most of us who were blessed to hear it, to dream, to reach, and to hope in our own lives.
But not her.
It’s a lot of pressure if we let it press us.
Maintaining status, celebrity, an image of any kind, anywhere, that is. We can find that pressure most anywhere we look—politics, entertainment, sports, business, and even within our families. Living up to the expectations of others. In the sports world it’s about victories, championships, money, stardom. Seldom do we hear “nice job,” or at least we don’t hear it for long. Instead it always seems to be about “what’s next?”
Whitney Houston’s life among us is over. I suspect that she fell prey to some of those pressures and expectations, hearing whispers of “what’s next?” as she sought to find relief in the margins of her life, looking for more time in her life where she didn’t have to live up to the expectations of others. But it seemed instead that her relief, temporary at best, came through the dark alleys of escape in drugs and alcohol. At a minimum it would seem that the continual drag of drugs and alcohol took a lasting toll across the pages of her life. And may, in fact, have contributed to the end of it.
The world is already analyzing her life and legacy. Reflections like this are beginning to emerge and will for some time. Her life and talent was a once in a generation gift. In large measure, that is how we will remember her. But there seemed to be something missing. Something that could sustain her in the rough times. Something to remind her of the promises from God set out in the scripture above. Perhaps, even something to remind her of the One making the promise.
Her life was shortened, but not wasted—not after we were moved by her rendition of our National Anthem before the XXV Super Bowl on January 27, 1991 in Tampa, Florida. Not after listening to song after song of hers lift and inspire us with a voice the transcended generations. Wasted it wasn’t. Shortened and pain-filled—it seemed to be.
She lived a life that contributed to the world through the gifts God gave her through her music and acting talents. Yet in that and despite her death, her life wasn’t finished. And it was a life that seemed to need something more than the victories, the concerts and movies, the acclaim and applause of the masses, and the material comforts that the sale of millions of albums brought, and the associations which surrounded her life. Her life seemed to need something more than all of those things and people, to fill whatever void, whatever emptiness, she was trying to fill with drugs and alcohol.
One of her most famous songs was entitled “I Will Always Love You.” Ironic, actually, as you listen to some of the words and wonder what might have been if she had ever heard them as if spoken to her by the God who created her—
I hope life treats you kind,
And I hope you have all you dreamed of,
And I wish you joy and happiness,
But above all I wish you love,
And I will always love you, will always love you.
How different life can be when we believe that the God who created us will always love us? That no matter what happens, no matter what others say, think or expect, no matter, even, if we ignore all that He promises us—He will always love us.
With a belief like that filling our hearts, what will we see each morning and night when we look in the mirror? Isn’t that celebrity enough for us? To have the God of the universe cheering us on, filling us up, always loving us, never separated and never leaving us. With that belief to fill us, what else will we need—fame, fortune, adoration, championships, drugs, celebrity, alcohol, victories and material things?
We are already all the celebrity we will ever need in the eyes of God.
One of Whitney Houston’s greatest songs was recorded for the 1988 Summer Olympics, and in pertinent part makes this statement—
I want one moment in time
When I’m more than I thought I could be
When all of my dreams are a heartbeat away
And the answers are all up to me
Give me one moment in time
When I’m racing with destiny
Then in that one moment of time
I will feel
I will feel eternity
It’s what the God who loves us wants for all of us.
The very best, and in moment after moment, to feel His presence now and throughout eternity. To remember that He is always there.
It’s up to us to believe and to embrace that for our lives.
Just something for us to think about today and every day for the rest of our lives.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2012. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.