Originally published Monday, 18 August 2014.
I’ve not seen Good Will Hunting or The Dead Poet’s Society, but I’ve observed enough of Robin Williams on the big screen to know that he was one talented man, one very versatile actor, who was deeply respected by many people.
My heart broke the other day to hear of his suicide. And while many online voices are responding to the unfortunate event, I’d like to share some thoughts, hoping they might provide encouragement, instigate action, provoke some helpful conversation, or cause you to think if you disagree.
I’ve not personally struggled with depression or suicidal thoughts, so I won’t pretend like I understand these particular battles. But I do know that all human beings struggle, in one way or another. We struggle against our flesh and the fallen world surrounding us. For me, the darkness has lately manifested itself in the presence of fear of failure and doubting my abilities. One thing I know: no matter what the struggle looks like, people need hope. They thirst for it.
Hope is like oxygen; our souls cannot survive without it.
We live and breathe on hope…even if it’s false hope. And it is false hope that ultimately wears us down and leaves us hungering for something more, something better. A more secure hope. A hope that won’t fail us.
We cannot hope in people; they are fickle (just like us) and struggle with their own individual battles. We cannot hope in money or material possessions; in an instant, they could all vanish. We cannot hope in health or youth or beauty or vocations or dreams or abilities or success or titles.
And we most certainly cannot hope in ourselves because we know, better than anyone else, that we are insufficient and imperfect…and hungry for hope. We know, deep down, that we are lacking…that there is something terribly wrong within us...even if we cannot pinpoint it.
The Apostle Paul talks about what is terribly wrong within us when he cries, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
then he says, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25).
What's happened here? Paul has found hope.
If you’re a believer, then you have placed your hope in Jesus Christ. You have confessed what is terribly wrong within you – your sinfulness that once separated you from God – and you have embraced the person and work of Jesus Christ to set you free from it.
You have placed your hope in the Son of God, who deserved to stay seated at the right hand of his Father, but instead became a man and endured pain and suffering and God’s rejection – ultimate darkness – so that you, an imperfect and sinful human, would not have to be cast into utter despair forever.
Jesus Christ is your hope because he accomplished what you never could for yourself: the total defeat of sin and darkness and death and hopelessness, once for all time.
You have Good News other people desperately need. It’s easy to begin and end here: “If only Robin Williams/my friend/my co-worker/my mom/_______ had found hope in Jesus Christ before it was too late.” And how true that is! Our grief is very real. But it is much harder to do something – to engage in an honest, open conversation with an unbelieving neighbor or friend or family member about the hope we've found in Jesus Christ.
Let’s not just think about the hope of Jesus in the face of such tragedy; let’s pray and proclaim the gospel. Let’s love the people we cross paths with every day by giving them the best news they’ll ever hear. Let’s lovingly challenge peoples’ worldviews. Let’s share with them the hope we’ve found in Christ.
The world desperately needs hope. Will you be an ambassador of it?
Lord Jesus, We ask that you would strengthen and sustain and comfort Robin Williams' family today. We ask in faith that they would hear the Good News and put their hope in you. We pray you would make us bold witnesses of the gospel, unashamed of the truth. Give us the words to speak as we interact with loved ones and people in our circles. For those people who are unsure or who have rejected you, call them to yourself. We love you, our Only Hope.
[Read the original post at http://www.secureandstrong.com/2014/08/in-response-to-robin-williams.html]