I have shamelessly become a huge fan of reruns of the TV show, NIP/TUCK. Since they record in clumps, I tend to also watch them in clumps of four episodes at a time. Last night I was very moved by an episode about a woman horribly disfigured by a suicide attempt.

Last night I also learned of the death of yet another tragic icon in the music industry. Whitney Houston was 48. I’m 48. But being that I was born in the Spring of 1963 and Whitney in the summer, I’m the older one. And I’m too young to die.  And that’s what everyone’s going to say about Ms. Houston.  That and, “What a waste, “Crack kills,” “It’s Bobby’s fault,” “Her voice died years ago,” and on and on and on.

Yes, people will be cruel, fueled by a media that thrives on cruelty. And of course there will be the other side of the pendulum, the people who praise her, who looooooooooooooved her. And there will be countless tributes on tonight’s Grammy show.

But what does any of this mean?

I’m reminded of when Dolly Parton lost so much weight back in the 80s that her fans revolted. She received thousands upon thousands of letters from concerned people from all over the world. So much so, that she addressed the matter on her variety show, promising fans that she will get her obsessions under control and eat more! Dolly Parton is 66 (at least) and, thankfully, still with us making the best (and most awarded) music of her career in the past two decades. Heck, if she died now we’d all be lamenting, “Too young, too young!”

We Christians, with our “sanctity of human life” concerns, need to remember that death is not part of God’s plan, it’s the product and purpose of sin. We don’t die in God’s time. He doesn’t dwell in time, we do. Most deaths are of our own making and we and our love ones blame forces of nature, other people and the “Circle of Life” long before we take any major responsibility for our choices.

Well “Hakuna Matata” all you will but Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Elvis, Marilyn and countless artists, legends and superstars in between (not to mention our friends and neighbors) have died senselessly for far too long.  And we just stand around and watch.

I rarely attend the funerals of drug-related deaths as I have one of those faces that you’d love to play poker with. I did not know Whitney Houston but always found her voice and talent somewhat overrated. This could have been the problem. Even she felt that it was all “too much to live up to.”

Not a lot of judgment here though but I will admit that I whole-heartedly believe that ANYONE who has a problem with drug addiction and TRULY walks with the Lord has the 100% availability of overcoming their addiction. FOR LIFE. The rest is in our hands including who we choose to break bread with.

Jesus died for our infirmities and addictions are most certainly something He suffered for on the cross.  I’m not talking about some silly “say no cuz you’re saved”  philosophy. I’m saying walk with Him, dwell with Him, allow His Spirit to dwell in you and you change.  And you change permanently.

Unless you don’t want to.

Paul said, “If I build again the things which I destroyed, then I make myself a transgressor.” (Galations 2:18) And that’s exactly what I see in this instance. Houston was raised with Jesus, “loved” Jesus and yet she was smoking crack.

Too young, what a waste and let’s watch and see who it “happens” to next.

Friends, we owe it to God, the Giver Of Life to stay alive as long as possible. He created us with purpose that rests on not only every breath but as many breaths as we can muster. For every second we live we have the ability to pray and spread His Gospel of Love, Truth and Salvation to the ends of the earth.

The Bible also exhorts us to respect not only the elderly, but the process of our own aging. In the episode of NIP/TUCK I watched last night, the woman who survived her own suicide attempt said, “I’ve learned that aging is not a curse. It’s a privilege.”

This inspired me to look up scriptures in the Bible on the subject…

Gray hair is a crown of splendor, it is attained by a righteous life.  (Proverbs: 16:31)

Age should speak, advanced years should teach wisdom.  (Job 32:7)

They shall bring forth fruit in old age. (Psalm 92:14)

Wisdom is with the aged. Long life is with understanding.  (Job 12:12)

And my favorite…

Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly.  (Leviticus 19:32)

It’s even woven into God’s law to take note of the importance and accomplishment of growing old. We live in a quick to die/die young, stay pretty culture that’s ruled by forces it does not believe in.  But the most powerful trick of our adversary is disbelief. And disbelief in the devil is suicide.

My heart goes out to the family and friends closest to Whitney Houston. There will be a lot of “what could we have done differently” discussions for years to come.

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