“Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwreck; there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.” John Calvin
My 5:30 a.m. alarm came early this morning. As I slowly came to consciousness, I picked up my phone and the first headline I read through bleary eyes was “Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell dead at age 52″…. At first I thought that it couldn’t be true. It didn’t take long to realize that this was no joke. If you follow him on Facebook, you know that he was often one to talk about his love for his kids. As a singer and musician myself, I held his unique talent in high regard. His vocal control and phrasing were absolute gifts from the Creator. In my humble opinion, he was the biggest talent to come out of that early 90’s Seattle scene.
“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.” Leo Buscaglia
As the day progressed and further details came together, more news came, “Singer Chris Cornell’s death ruled a suicide”…. In a video clip taken during the last song of what would be his final show he can be heard saying, “Jesus come meet me….” So this gifted man, made in God’s own image (as all of humanity is) decided to close the book on his life early. This will forever be part of his legacy….
I am not as concerned about the legacy left with the fans as I am about the legacy of brokenness now thrust upon his family. Tragically, the consequences of Chris’s actions will have on effect on them for generations. In the world’s eyes he had it all. So what happened? How are we supposed to make sense of this? How can it happen to him, or any of us for that matter? (Note: What I am about to say is not specific to Chris, as I don’t know what he believed or what he was going through that drove him to make the decision he made. That being said, I do believe we can learn from this tragedy, based on our common human experience.)
If we are caught up in sin, especially habitual sin we should be very wary of where that can lead. Though it seems harmless at first, once that seed bears it’s fruit, it will shackle us in darkness. Pick your poison. There are many to choose from. This is a trap that our spiritual enemy has set for thousands of years. He’s watched our ancestors and every generation afterwards. He knows who we come from and how we’re wired and he has set the extremely subtle slippery slope before us. He’s patient. One choice at a time, he will do his damnedest to lead us where he wants us to go.
“They enjoyed the sweet taste of wickedness, letting it melt under the tongue. They savored it, holding it long in their mouths. But suddenly the food in their bellies turns sour, a poisonous venom in their stomach.” Job 20:12-14
Another poignant warning we read in scripture that we should all take heed of is:
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” Galatians 6:7
Whether we play with the darkness over time or embrace it eagerly, it will destroy us. Not just in this life but it will rob us in the next as well. And that loss will be far worse. So what are these things to be aware of? Let’s look to scripture:
“Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, not adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
The end game of those practices is demonic oppression, spiritual bondage and hopelessness. Now I don’t know about you but in one way or another, that list contains everyone I know, including myself. In my natural state, without help, I will never enter Heaven. I’m guilty and I know it….without a doubt. Again if we look to scripture this is confirmed:
“….for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….” Romans 3:23
As we can see in the headlines we read everyday, hopelessness is very powerful and it has a tight grip on much of humanity. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Though our spiritual adversary would whisper that we are worthless and alone, Jesus would counter his lies…. ‘No! I bought you with my blood and you are not your own, but mine! While you were still a sinner, I died for you!’ (see Galatians 3:13-15 and Romans 5:8)
You are deeply, deeply loved by Jesus. Chris Cornell was as well. Maybe he just never truly knew how much…. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, recognize the enemy is setting the trap. He hates God and therefore he hates you. Don’t let him win and shape your legacy. You may think people would be better off without you, but again, that is a lie and just the opposite is true. I would encourage you to write down the following verses and meditate on the truth of God’s very Word to you:
“So do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” Psalm 34:18-19
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you (the Holy Spirit) is greater than the one who is in the world (spirits of darkness).” 1 John 4:4
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
“We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.” Psalm 33:20
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
Commit to fighting. Commit to allowing God to finish His good work in you and fulfilling your destiny. If you are caught up in sin, turn your back on it and walk away from it. Tell Jesus you need Him and ask Him for help. Ask God to change the desires of your heart so that you do not want to go back to whatever “that” might be in your life. Tell the devil that you belong to Someone else now and that is Jesus Christ. Commit to only taking the first step through the door of eternity when He decides your time is up. Finish the race set before you. You’re not alone, my friend. You’re not alone. Jesus is with you, as are His ministering angels that also battle on your behalf.
You. Can. Do. This.
“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.”
May He be your strength and peace. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.