We awake this morning to the report of Whitney Houston’s death just hours before the Grammy Awards were to air. For those who followed the pop star it was a shock although maybe not so surprising. Houston was one of the true musical talents in the business. She grew up around gospel music and learned to sing in church. Her godmother was Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick was her cousin. The New York Times said of her voice that it was a powerfully trained sound. Her talent was beyond measure. Billboard Magazine the industry standard publication, said it this way: “At her peak, Houston was the golden girl of the music industry. From the mid-1980s to the late 1990s, she was one of the world’s best-selling artists. She wowed audiences with effortless, powerful and peerless vocals rooted in the black church but made palatable to the masses with a pop sheen.”
Whitney Houston was found alone and dead in a Beverley Hills hotel room Saturday. She was only 48. The cause of death is unknown but police say there is no obvious evidence of foul play. Given Houston’s confessed history of drug abuse some are already speculating that she succumbed as a result of drug use. We do not know the cause of death and probably won’t for some weeks. But her swift rise to stardom and her meteoric fall are reminders of the tragedy that can befall any of us.
Whitney Houston never intended to be destroyed by drugs.
In a 2002 interview with ABC News Houston said frankly that she was her own worst enemy. “The biggest devil is me. I am either my best friend or my worst enemy.” On top of the world in 2001 she signed a $100 million dollar recording contract. I don’t think she ever intended to fall back into the horrid squalor of drug and alcohol abuse. But sin is like that. It almost always starts small and appears harmless. But it has a voracious appetite that will only be satisfied when it devours the very soul of its target.
Whitney Houston found that great fame, massive wealth and incredible talent is no match for Satan.
She was the golden-girl of the 80’s and 90’s. No one could match her voice. There simply was not a talent anywhere close to Whitney Houston. She lived on a $10 million dollar estate but in recent months had faced the prospect of foreclosure. She was reported to be asking friends for loans of $100. One commenter on the internet simply said, “how the mighty have fallen.”
Whitney Houston kept an appointment all of us will keep.
Regardless of the reason for her death she still passed this life and will now stand before God (Hebrews 9:27). If there is a lesson for all of us here it is to be prepared. Houston’s ex-husband said that it was possible Whitney would have performed at the Grammy’s. Just this week she was partying with friends in Los Angeles. I don’t think she expected to end up alone in a hotel room. Her death is just a tragedy.
There are a multitude of lessons here for all of us and especially for our young people who look up to the stars of music. Many of them do not know Whitney Houston like some of us. They have their own heroes. But the same lessons apply to their idols as do ours and those lessons apply to the youth just like they apply to us. This horrible event is a teaching moment. Do not let it pass.