It is hard to believe that somebody who seemed so full of life, energy, and joy like Robin Williams would take his own life.
Looks can be decieving, and while people like Williams seem larger than life, they are not. I have been a fan of his comedy and his movies since I was kid watching Mork and Mindy I didn’t know him so I don’t want to opine about his life and why he went down this road. That question will likely lead to dissatisfaction for those who did know him best. They are the ones left with the consequences of his decision.
His decision. His choice.
Williams likley thought he was alone in his agony, but he wasn’t.
Certainly depression played a part in his suicide, but ultimately a choice was made. It is not hard for me to understand, albeit under different circumstances, entertaining thoughts about death – wondering if I would be better off dead. For me that time came when I was in junior high school which I can wholeheartedly say was the worst time of my life. I had low self-esteem. I was harrassed because I was overweight, and the harassment continued even after I lost it. I was miserable.
But even then, when I would entertain thoughts of suicide, I would think of my family and the pain they would endure. I also held out hope that life would get better. I just couldn’t override, and didn’t really want to, that God-given sense of self-preservation.
You have to enter a very dark place for that to be overriden. I’m reminded of the psalmist in Psalm 88. He was in a dark place.
“O LORD, God of my salvation; I cry out day and night before you. Let my prayer come before you; incline your ear to my cry! For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep,” (Psalm 88:1-6, ESV).
If you read the remaining twelve verses you will find no happy ending. All darkness…. except this – “O LORD, God of my salvation…” The psalmist, even though he was in a dark place, knew Who he could cry out to.
He blamed God throughout this psalm for this situation, and perhaps he was going through a difficult consequence because of his sin. Perhaps he was enduring suffering or persecution. Who really knows?
We don’t know how things turned out because he didn’t record it, but we do know this – he knew where his salvation came from. It doesn’t come from money. It doesn’t come from substances. It doesn’t come from fame. It doesn’t come from family. It doesn’t come from a career.
Proverbs tells us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life,” (Proverbs 13:12, ESV).
Putting one’s hope in the wrong things will ultimately lead to disappointment and possibly despair, if not in this life then certainly in the next.
What do you truly desire is the key. Reading further in Proverbs – “Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded. The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death,” (Proverbs 13:14-15, ESV).
Hope is deferred when we put our hope in the wrong things.
While Robin Williams made a choice to physically end his life we all have a choice spiritually.
I’m reminded of what Moses said to the people of Israel shortly before he died. “I call on heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days…,” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20, ESV).
God is your life and He is the length of your days. In Him we live and move and have our being, (Acts 17:28).
Our very life is a gift from God. We are all under His common grace.
Robin Williams chose to throw that gift away. No doubt he had depression I won’t deny that fact. Sure, in his mind, he faced overwhelming circumstances I’m sure. However, there are many people who have depression and who have faced overwhelming circumnstances and have not made that choice.
I have know a few who have, and they chose death. They chose to be a curse unto their families. They chose to leave their family and friends with pain and unresolved questions. “Could I have seen it coming?” “Could I have said the right thing?” “Did I miss any signs?” “Could I have prevented it?” “Why was death preferable to living with me?”
It’s a selfish choice. It hurts every single loved one they leave behind.
I know it sounds harsh, I don’t mean it to be, but really in the time when one makes the decision to take his own life he is the only one he is thinking of. It is an arrogant choice as well because he actively put himself in the role of God who is the author of life and giver of days.
God offers more than common grace. He offers a cure for our broken condition. Jesus provides a contrast. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundently,” (John 10:10, ESV).
Jesus comes to give us abundant life. The thief, Satan, comes to take it away. Destruction or abundance? By nature, we were born into darkness and desire destruction. We are walking dead, spiritually speaking, live in disobedience, and were considered children of wrath, (Ephesians 2:1-3).
Will we face hardship? Sure. Will we enduring suffering? Yes at times of our life we will. But they key difference is what we place our hope in. If we place our hope in Jesus we will experience abundant life even in the midst of suffering. Even those who struggle with depression can experience joy and peace because of Jesus. They can have hope. It’s counter to what culture teaches, but it’s the truth.
Not only will He carry you through those times there are brothers and sisters who will provide support as well. Light does dawn for those who place their trust in Jesus, (Psalm 112:4).
Far too many people listen to the thief when it comes to decisions related to this life and the next. Don’t be one of them.
God through Jesus offers us eternal life as well.
Because of our broken condition we face death, and every day choose death when we sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” (Romans 6:23, ESV).
Either we can try to work for our salvation, try to please God on our own and in return we receive death because there is no way we can please Him on our own because of our sin or we can trust in the gift that God gives in Jesus Christ who paid for our sin on the cross and died and rose again giving us victory of sin and death, and thereby we receive eternal life.
I don’t know whether Robin Williams was headed to a second death or eternal life, but he is now in the hands of a just Judge.
When we face our Judge and we all one day will. Will we be ready? Will we choose life or will we choose death?
There will come a time where death will be no more, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away,” (Revelation 21:4, ESV).
This is our hope.