Reading Time: 3 minutes

Whitney Houston and the love of God

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

facebook twitter instagram

Whitney Houston bows after performing I Didnt Know My Own Strength at the 2009 American Music Awards in Los Angeles, California November 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Whitney Houston’s death at the age of 48 is making global headlines this morning.  Her debut album in 1985 made her an international star.  Many believe her 1992 marriage to Bobby Brown began her downward spiral into cocaine and alcohol abuse that ravaged her voice and may have contributed to her death.  While her fans grieve her death, her Father is grieving her life as well.  He gifted her with one of the most remarkable voices of our generation.  Whatever the cause of her death, she died too soon.

The tragedy of Whitney Houston is not the only cause for grief in heaven this morning.  At last night’s Grammy Awards, singer Nicki Minaj arrived in a red hooded gown accompanied by a man dressed as the pope.  She then performed on stage as a demon-possessed woman and mocked a Catholic exorcism.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more blasphemous performance on television.  What would happen if the Grammys mocked Islam or another religion in the same way?

{source}<iframe style=”float: right; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #C0C0C0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”240″ height=”180″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/k9dDFe2gxo8?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
{/source}The tragic irony is that both singers have made public their faith.  Whitney Houston began her singing career at New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey, where her mother still directs the choir.  She told Ebony magazine in 2009, “I thank God that people love me.  But I (really) thank God that God loves me.”  And Nicki Minaj wears a tattoo on her left arm with Chinese characters that translate, “God is always with you.”

As I was preparing to express my frustration this morning, I sensed the Spirit’s leading to read Oswald Chambers’ essay for the day.  What I found brought conviction to my soul.  He explains not only our culture’s disconnect between faith and life, but my own weakness in this regard as well: “The destiny of my spiritual life is such identification with Jesus Christ that I always hear God, and I know that God always hears me. . . . What hinders me from hearing is that I am taken up with other things.  It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place.  I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes but I do not hear him.”

Jesus told us that when the farmer scatters the seed of the gospel, some will fall among the “thorns.”  This is “the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).  I am as susceptible to this temptation as anyone.

The good news is that our Father forgives all we confess and redeems even our worst failures if we trust them to him.  In her 2009 interview, Whitney Houston said, “I thank Him for chastening my heart, for never letting go.”  Her most famous song is his word to us: “I will always love you.”  Do you need that assurance today?