Reflections On The Life And Death Of Whitney Houston

I’m no musical genius, but I would put Whitney Houston in the top ten women’s voices of all time – and certainly one of the greatest voices in American music history.  Barbara Streisand – another of those voices - possessed magnificent depth of feeling; but in terms of sheer power and range and the ability to send delicious chills coursing down your spine, Whitney Houston’s voice was simply unmatchable.

She was also beautiful.  I remember watching the movie The Bodyguard and seeing Whitney’s face filling the movie screen and thinking over and over again what an incredibly pretty woman she was.

Fame, fortune, beauty and talent all in amazing quantities.  If you wanted to know what it was like to have it all, Whitney Houston would have been the one to ask.

I also remember seeing her last year – gaunt, emaciated, sick-looking, eaten alive by drugs – and wondering how such a beautiful woman could so quickly come to resemble a gargoyle.

Now she’s dead, very likely the same way Amy Winehouse ended up dead.

And it’s so incredibly sad that somebody so successful, so talented, so beautiful would destroy herself the way she did.

The quickest path to a fast death is to be a rich drug addict.

But why did she – with all of her amazing talent and resources – take this path?

It is amazing how many of “the beautiful people” have ended this way.  And there is a lesson worth pondering in that.

Imagine being able to have anything in the world that you want and being miserable.

Imagine having everything the world can offer and discovering that nothing in this world makes you happy.

I think about the poor person who buys a lottery ticket and dreams and schemes of what his or her life could be like if he or she just got lucky.  Whitney Houston had long since lost hope of having any such dreams and schemes.  Imagine the desolation of her soul.

To answer the poor person who says, “If I only had a thousand – or a million – more dollars, I would be happy,” my response is, “No, you wouldn’t.  If you had a thousand more dollars, you’d very quickly want a thousand more, etc., etc.  Nelson Rockefeller – the richest man in the world at the time – was asked how much money is enough; and his response was, “Just one more dollar.”  And that’s the way degenerate human nature has rewired itself.  We’re all like that.  We can try to fill ourselves with money or fame or success or sex or food or drugs or any other idol you can possibly imagine.  And it is never enough.

And Whitney Houston had experienced that condition until she was sick to her soul.

God hardwired us to find rest and completion only in Himself.  And nothing else in this world – no matter how much of it we try to fill ourselves with – can possibly make up for the absence of God in our souls.

I remember watching a news program – I think it may have been Nightline but I can’t recall – during the war that was going on in Yugoslavia between the Serbs and the Croats.  Croatians, Slovenians and Bosnians were driven out of their homes by an ancient hatred that the collapse of the USSR allowed to erupt yet again.  And these people – who had been educated, successful people – were relegated to picking through the garbage of American troops to look for food or something of some value that they could sell or trade.

One of these victims of war paused in his scavenging to respond to a reporter.  And I will never forget what he said:

“We are living like animals.  Is this all there is to our lives?  Is there nothing more?”

And see, the incredible thing about that is that Whitney Houston, or Amy Winehouse, or Heath Ledger, or Kurt Cobain, etc., etc. – with all of their fortunes – were asking themselves the very same questions.

What would it be like to have everything the world can offer and still be miserable?  What would it be like to have be able to get anything you want – except hope?

If you wanted to know what it was like to have it all and discover that everything the world could ever offer was worthless, Whitney Houston would have been the one to ask.

There is one way out of this world besides the route that Whitney Houston took tragically early.  Saint Paul described it thus:

“I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.  Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.  I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” — Philippians 3:7-12

Mock us all you want, secular humanist world, but we have one thing that you will never have if you continue down your same path – we have Jesus.  And we have the hope of resurrection life.

No matter how bad things might get for us, no matter how terrible of a mistake we may have made, we have hope.  Hope of forgiveness, hope of a better tomorrow, hope that Jesus Christ will one day make everything as new.

Whitney Houston began her music career singing in a church choir.  I truly hope that beautiful, fragile soul heard the gospel and believed it before her life turned into something ugly.

Christians can be wretched sinners; in fact, the first necessary condition of coming to Jesus Christ in faith and asking Him to heal you and make you whole involves acknowledging that you are a wretched sinner.  Because it is from that beginning that God begins to work out His resurrection life in your soul.

And once you have tasted that eternal life, you never lose it.  If you have eternal life, how can you lose it?  Which means that if Whitney Houston ever tasted it, she’s in heaven with Jesus right now.

I pray that Jesus called Whitney home to Himself to spare her from more self-inflicted pain.

And I and many others on this earth mourn the loss of one so beautiful and so talented who didn’t know how to find joy in this world.

And I send up a prayer that Whitney Houston is truly resting in peace this night.

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12 Responses to “Reflections On The Life And Death Of Whitney Houston”

  1. maxinurse Says:

    So true… very tragic. No hope is a terrible way to live esp. when u have it “all”. I wish I could have asked her when & why all the pain had to be masked or did she even know? RIP u made & will always make my world brighter by listening to your gorgeous voice. Ty so much Whitney& may we meet in heaven as two troubled souls on earth.

  2. HL Says:

    I had the same prayer on my heart when I heard of her passing, “I hope she is with Jesus.”
    Really great post, Michael.

  3. Thanks michael for such an insightful post. Only Jesus can satisfy every longing soul..one thing iv learnt from whitney's death is that the devil is a really bad devil and if any christion loses their way even slightly, the devil will make mincemeat out o Says:

    Thanks for such an insightful rewiew, one thing ive realised as a child of God is that the devil wants me (and every child of God) dead.period. So if i just allow myself to be tempted, no matter how small the temptation is, iv opened a pandoras box of a lifetime of regrets and ultimately, death

  4. Penumbra Says:

    Very sad. A beautiful and talented woman degenerates and dies so tragically.

    On my blog I go through the problems evolving from the liberal culture. I’m not finished yet and I do not know where it will lead me, but I have already identified drug abuse as one of the biggest issues in the modern world.

    The liberal society has proven not fully able to address it. The use of illegal drugs is increasing in our Western civilization. Christian faith and morals are definitely important factors in combating it, but the liberals oppose that because they view them as a threat to people’s personal freedom, witch liberals worship.

    Faith in God and Jesus Christ must increase, as the discipline in our communities. In addition, much tougher laws are needed. Can the Conservatives achieve that?

    I follow the elections of the presidential candidate for the Republicans. Mitt Romney seems to win it. He seems like a good man for the job, but will he carry out the true conservative reforms required? I do not think so. The liberal forces will still be in power by dominating the press, media, film industry, education, law, unions, etc.

    I hope for the best. Conservative reforms in the U.S. will spread over to Europe. But I will believe it when I see it.

  5. Michael Eden Says:

    maxinurse,

    I believe that some people have extremely “addictive” personalities. Nobody EVER plans to be a drug addict. Many people can “use” recreationally and then “grow up” and never touch it again. But for some people – and you never know if you’re one until you find out the hard way – it would be better to play Russian roulette with a loaded gun than to EVER take drugs or drink alcohol.

    Which is to say that while I completely agree with what you’re saying about “masking pain,” there’s also a neurological factor: it’s like a certain percentage of people are “hard-wired” to have addictive substances rush to their brain in such a powerful way that once they’ve tried it they’re hooked. The best way to avoid becoming an addict is to never try the stuff in the first place, particularly for that group of people.

    I’VE got a rather addictive personality, I believe. And people like me tend to do things to “extremes.” We work too hard, we exercise too hard, we just have a harder time finding “balance.” And I wonder if Whitney Houston – who was touring relentlessly from when she was a girl – had that weird “drive” in her.

    I’d also say that the devil is ALWAYS trying to provide us with a substitute for God. And drugs are the easiest, fastest, and “best” one as far as Lucifer is concerned.

    Whitney’s giant voice and her mega-watt smile will truly be missed.

  6. Michael Eden Says:

    Thank you, as always, HL.

    I know that a lot of people truly come to love the people whom they love to hear/see perform. Such tragedies should point the way to something meaningful.

  7. Michael Eden Says:

    Thanks michael for…,

    C.S. Lewis, writing about people overly judging/condemning other people who are struggling with issues like gambling or drug use, put it thus: “Ever since I served as an infantryman in the First World War I had a great dislike of people who themselves in ease and safety, issue exhortations to men in the front line.”

    I might take drugs recreationally a few times and be able to walk away and never touch the stuff again. But other people might take cocaine just one time and it’s like a fire starts to consume them from that very first moment.

    Often it’s only the grace of God that spares us from a terrible fate. Because we played with fire too and we were incredibly fortunate that we didn’t get burned.

    And, yeah, the devil despises EVERYONE, especially Christians and Jews. He even despises those who worship him and burns them the moment they quit being useful to him.

    God’s laws aren’t to make God happy; they’re to make us happy. Because as Jesus said, “Broad is the highway to destruction” versus that narrow path to life.

  8. Michael Eden Says:

    Penumbra,

    I believe you’re on to something with that study.

    Classical thought would have been appalled with the liberals fixation on “rights.” They NEVER thought in terms of rights, but rather they focused on DUTIES. The wise, noble, good man thought deeply about his duties. They never thought about their “rights” to do despicable things until their culture had DEvolved to the point that it had become utterly toxic and was about to fall.

    So liberalism embraces our “right” to take drugs. And if we have a “right” to do something in the minds of liberals, then the DUTIES regarding that thing get passed on to somebody else.

    So other people have a “duty” to respect drug addicts; they have a duty to pay for drug addicts treatment; they have a duty to pay for methadone, etc. They ultimately have a “duty” to watch the entirety of society erode as drugs eat it away like cancer. And of course they have a “duty” to keep their mouths shut rather than suggest that Jesus is the answer.

    Conservatives despise the liberal “easy greasy how-can-we-help-you-destroy-yourselves?” mindset. We talk about taking personal responsibility on the individual level and avoiding moral hazard to make bad situations even worse on the other. Which makes us “intolerant.” How DARE we interfere with liberals’ providing easy access to drugs and temporary solutions that facilitate the creation of more addicts who will vote Democrat for more benefits that will make it easier to get more drugs?

    I’m personally not real happy with Mitt Romney and truly believe America sure could have picked a far better leader than he. But at the same time he may well be “the most electable” of the trio that is left (Gingrich and Santorum being the other two). I like Santorum better in most respects, but the GOP candidate needs to be able to raise huge money, and I don’t know that Santorum can do that.

    I can’t talk about “Europe” and conservatism, but I CAN talk about Canada in that regard. Canada used to be FAR more socialist than was the USA; now it is far more conservative than we are (both because it has become far more conservative and because we have become far more socialist).

    I wish that we all of us could embrace the worldview that Jesus brought to the world.

  9. Penumbra Says:

    Absolutely so, Michael.

    Liberals are talking only about rights, no obligations, and when something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault. The change towards more of liberalism, which the U.S. is obviously going through, is very depressing even for me. But it is easy to see why liberals win votes. They do it by promising welfare benefits and freedom without any larger efforts and by allowing more and more perversions and moral decay. What chances have someone who is talking about stricter morals, work and toil as the only path to true prosperity?

    Perhaps it is the future – more of liberalism so that people realize the enormous problems it causes and eventually get sober. It seems as the Canadians have done it. Let’s hope it’s not too late, though.

    Today I read that Europe (EU) begins to invest even more interest and hope in China. The hope is to get help from the Chinese to overcome the economic crisis. Nobody says it, but to me it is clear that EU seem to abandon the U.S. as its main economic partner. In practice, it means big loans to EU countries with empty coffers. And I have a feeling that China is happy to take that chance, and the cost, to separate the U.S. and Europe. Financial divorce means soon also political divorce.

    One can not but ask our Lord Jesus Christ to bestow wisdom in the minds of our politicians, and pray for our Christian world and civilization.

    P.S. Beside the abuse of drugs, the other major factor that I have identified, that will put an end to the liberalism (and socialism), is the governmental overspendings. Wealth without work can only be financed with borrowed money. Not many countries are like Germany or Sweden and manage to combine the two systems. We do it to the cost of huge taxes. By the way, we are also changing due to the immigration and becoming more of average European societies – with average European problems.

  10. Michael Eden Says:

    Liberals are talking only about rights, no obligations, and when something goes wrong, it’s always someone else’s fault.

    Penumbra,

    That is very insightful. It’s one thing to understand that blame and demagoguery are quintessential to the modern Democrat Party, and it’s one thing to understand that the Democrat Party is the party of “give me my rights and make someone else responsible to provide them by imposing the duties on THEM; but it’s isnightful to recognize that the former is the inevitable result of the latter as you do here.

    If I want free birth control, the Catholic Church ought to be forced to pay for it even though it is anathema to their theology which has endured 1,500 years until Obama came along.

    And when their policies go to hell, the same party that is constantly forcing someone else to pay for the “rights” they impose will simply play the same game and make somebody else responsible for the blame, too.

    I was one who was quite aware of the two things, but hadn’t made that connection between cause and effect the way you have.

    We are, under Obama, going back to the very worst era of politics that was made infamous by the Chicago political machine.

    The Democrats are at the point where they are paying protestors to protest who have no idea what they are even protesting. And this is COMMON today.

    Think of the death of democracy: if protestors are paid to protest, then protests mean NOTHING. Democrats have just killed the protest movement by deceitfully exploiting it.

    Dishonesty and slander is their nature.

    What you’re describing in Europe is, of course, most exemplified to all the world in what is going on in Greece. LIBERALS ARE RIOTING. They are burning down businesses. Again, we are watching liberals bringing about the death of what is left of democracy. And it is particularly fitting that democracy – which historians frequently note was born in Greece – would be killed by liberals in the very place of it’s birth.

    Your comment re: China is deeply insightful, also, in terms of my study of biblical prophecy. The United States will have to collapse before the Antichrist described in Revelation comes to true power. America has been the force that has prevented dictatorship from dominating the world since Word War I. When we fall, the beast will come. And the beast, we are told, will come from a Europe that must resurge into a world power while he emerges. Your point about China – which is also mentioned in Bible prophecy (look up “the kings of the east”) – and its determination to sunder the once-strong bond between the United States and Europe may very well explain how Europe emerges while America collapses.

  11. Penumbra Says:

    Thanks Michael

    Today I saw in the Swedish press yet another piece of the puzzle, which shows the ongoing decay. Obama has decided to halve the U.S. forces in Europe, due to the economic problems and because of the growing threat from China in the Pacific. Someone named Dov Zakheim, a member of the U.S. Defense Department, reports that. He is concerned about the decision because he does not regard Europe as stable, as Obama claims.

    I can understand the Americans and I hope that Europe will take over the responsibility for its own safety. But I also know that Dov Zakheim is right and that Europe has little chance to remain democratic, if it does not change its current liberal policies. Europe can not afford liberalism anymore. Beside that, the European liberalism degenerate our young people, worse with each new generation.

    I also note a survey among Swedish youngsters showing, that one in four prefer a strong dictatorship to democracy, and one must remember that we are a very rich and prosperous country when seen with international eyes.

    So, things that are mentioned in the Bible maybe happening now. When the time comes, we will be ready to meet our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

  12. Michael Eden Says:

    Penumbra,

    Your words reminded me of an article I preserved a long time ago titled “Brave Old World” by Victor Davis Hanson.

    That article is available here and my own write up is available here.

    Europe needs a strong, powerful America. It is frankly a shame that so few Europeans (present company GLADLY excluded!) have recognized that.

    When I was in the Army, I participated in a NATO exercise in Germany called “Reforger.” What I discovered was that most of the older Germans were wildly enthusiastic about American troops while the younger ones had attitudes that ranged from marked indifference to open contempt.

    Some day a lot of Europeans will rue the day that they didn’t root for a strong conservative-governed America that believes that evil must be faced and defeated rather than ignored and compromised with.

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