Whitney Houston Dies at 48.

Like most of America, I awoke Sunday morning to news that Whitney Houston had died the night before.  Here is the opening paragraph I read:

“Whitney Houston, who ruled as pop music’s queen until her majestic voice was ravaged by drug use and her regal image was ruined by erratic behavior and a tumultuous marriage to singer Bobby Brown, died Saturday. She was 48” (www.billboard.com).

What a tragic end to a success story that unraveled too quickly and fell apart in embarrassing fashion.  Her death reveals that God’s timeless wisdom shows itself true and trustworthy even when the “wise” world views it as foolish.

The apostle Paul said, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Cor. 1:25).  He was speaking to Christians living in the flourishing, materialistic city of Corinth (in modern day Greece).  They were falling back in love with the world and turning their backs on the gospel-driven lifestyle.  Getting it all backwards, they saw God’s ways as foolish and the world’s ways as wise.  Recognizing the practical, even eternal, hazard of their worldview, Paul warned:

Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness” (1 Cor. 3:18-19).

The final quote is from the Old Testament; it’s a hunting metaphor, which speaks of how easily a human hunter takes advantage of the natural cunning of a predator in order to capture and kill it.  A coyote, for instance, will cleverly stalk a wounded prey animal, not knowing that he is actually walking into a trap laid by a hunter.  God just as easily “catches the wise in their craftiness.” Paul’s point is that the unbelieving world deceives itself – thinking its ways are wise and God’s foolish – but God always wins.

Whitney Houston’s tragic life is a sad example.  Her magnificent voice and fresh, youthful looks shot her to stardom.  She was apparently ill prepared, though, to handle fame and fortune.  I don’t pretend to know the details of her life, but the media’s coverage through the years reveals the heartbreaking tale of a tragic butterfly buffeted by the cruel gales of evil forces for which it is no match.

Houston’s marriage to singer Bobby Brown represented – by almost all accounts – the beginning of her tragic descent into a living hell.  Drug use and abuse quickly followed.  Her once angelic voice, which soared to the heavens, crashed back to earth.  She was booed off stage at recent concerts, not able to hit her signature high notes.  She forgot lines and appeared lost in a drunken haze.  Was Sunday’s headline of her death truly a surprise?

People can laugh at God all they want; they can cunningly avoid Him, explain Him away, and ignore Him, but His ways and wisdom always prevail.  Human wisdom always, in the end, finds itself hopelessly ensnared in the Lord’s wise trap.  We can only imagine her story had Whitney Houston known and followed Christ, but if God’s Word is any indicator, she would be alive, singing, and blessed.

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