Every generation has its heroes and villains that identify the feelings and emotions of the historical river flowing through its years. The death of Robin Williams marked a few generations for the laughter he brought with his wit and ‘alien’ humor that for so many was refreshing and fun. He had a side of humor that was not clean but the image he portrayed in much of his work left an impression of comical relief enjoyed by all. His method of death is troubling for the causes and effects that led him to take his own life. There is sadness in the disease of the mind leading to one’s personal destruction. For all his laughter Williams shared a dark side of alcohol and drug abuse and continually battled alcohol throughout his life. The cause of his mental state has revived the need to understand depression and its impact upon a frail life. Debates will continue as to how he could take his life and the impact on so many levels. The real tragedy of Williams death is just that – he died.
Every day millions die from natural causes, violence, consequences from place and time, war, famine and neglect. The reasons are myriad as hatred continues to fill the corners of the globe with its tentacles of evil. Disease ravages populations without mercy to age, wealth, power or influence. Wars will always be fought as the arrogance of man compels him to destroy his neighbor. Natural calamities befall communities without warning taking untold lives. Mental illness also answers for many of those who die every day. To understand the real nature of the problem is to realize the true character of living. This can only be found in the word of God.
There is a profound sadness in the death of Robin Williams when a complete perspective is given of what his death means. It is not about the millions of dollars he gained in his life. The fame he enjoyed by the world is not the issue. His influence over generations of audiences pales in comparison to the real tragedy of his life. In dying the pleasures of life (alcohol and drugs) meant nothing. The news of Robin Williams dying is that Robin Williams died.
Sixty-three years ago in Chicago, Illinois a little boy was born. There was nothing unusual about his birth as millions of children were born in 1951. But what happened in July of 1951 was a little boy was introduced into the world that was created in the image of the Creator. “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27).
Robin Williams was created in the image and likeness of God. His death did not end his existence; it changed the body. Mortality ended and the continuance of the eternal body transformed to beyond the grave. “What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave” (Psalms 89:48)? The rich man and Lazarus tell us that death is only a transition from a frame of flesh and bone to an eternal existence of joy or sorrow (Luke 16:19-31). The tragedy of August 11 was not the manner of his death but the reality that another soul stands before his Creator in eternity. His eternal state is in the hands of the Almighty. There are no more opportunities to live another day, say another word, change a decision made or hope for a better outlook. Death is final. It seals the soul in the expanse of eternity that never will be changed.
Turning the camera back to the 1950’s we find a little boy named Robin that was innocent of the dangers of the world. Bound in his heart would be the same feelings as all boys and girls who begin life in purity and free from the dregs of evil. There was a time in Williams’s life that he was not burdened with the weight of his decisions. Time changed this character. Sin marred his soul. He followed a path that would give him fame, fortune and pleasure but seemingly without the lasting joy found in early innocence. But that is the plight of all men. We all bear the mark of innocence in our childhood and battle the raging forces of Satan gaining hold of our lives. The greatest sadness in death is the power Satan has over so many lives that began in the humble character of children. Our greatest victory can only be embraced from the cross of Jesus Christ. The sadness in death is to see lives ruined by the trappings of the lie fueled by Satan in the Garden of Eden. “Has God indeed said” (Genesis 3:1)?
Jesus said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). The stark reality of life and death is whether one is going to seek wisdom and pleasure in the world or the eternal grace of God through His Son. It matters not how men view you in this life but how the Son of Man sees you in the final day. All men come into the world clean from the filth of sin. As little children their hearts are humble and pure and like soft clay waiting for the love of God to be inscribed on their hearts. Jesus sadly reminds us that most hearts will be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin and marred throughout eternity (Matthew 7:13).
Death is sad on many levels. It is especially sad as another spirit returns to God who gave it (Ecclesiastes 12:7) and the weight of one’s soul is measured on the scale of righteousness. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works’” (Matthew 16:24-27).
A little boy named Robin is in the hands of the Almighty. He will be in that great thong of humanity that stands before the bar of Jehovah in the day of judgment. In Athens the apostle Paul declared, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31). The real story is not how Robin Williams died but how he lived. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).