Saturday, February 18, 2012

Farewell to Whitney


“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered — how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” (Psalm 39:4-5 / NLT).

       Like millions around the world, I watched Whitney Houston’s funeral service. We all said goodbye to a beautiful legendary singer who died way too young—way too soon.

Notable Attendees
       Her homegoing service was wonderful, tastefully done. News reports said about 1,500 invited guests attended. Many well-known family members, singers, pastors, actors, and screenwriters were present, such as Dionne Warwick, Tyler Perry, Kevin Costner, TD Jakes and his wife, music industry executive Clive Davis, Oprah Winfrey and Gale King, R. Kelly, Alicia Keyes, Stevie Wonder, Rev. Jesse Jackson, gospel singers Bebe and Cece Winans, Marvin Winans, Rev. Kim Burrell, and Donny McClurkin, among others. They all said incredible things about Whitney and paid tribute to her in Holy-Spirit-filled song. They truly honored and blessed her.
       Tyler Perry preached his heart out, telling attendees that nothing could have separated Whitney “from the love of God” (Romans 8:38-39). He said “God’s grace carried Whitney throughout her life and even carried her home.” Perry also said Whitney “loved the Lord.”

Songs and Words of Tribute 
     Bebe and Cece Winans, Marvin Winans, Alicia Keyes, R. Kelly, Stevie Wonder, Donnie McClurkin, and Kim Burrell all sang beautiful, emotion-filled songs to and about Whitney. Kevin Costner and Clive Davis gave moving speeches about their experiences knowing Whitney as a first-time actress and fledgling singer. They raved about how beautiful she was as a person and how beautiful her voice was when she sang. “You wait for a beautiful face like that and a voice like that for a lifetime,” Clive Davis said. “And when you find it in one person it takes your breath away. I loved her very much.”
     One of the most memorable moments was the speech of her bodyguard Ray Watson who declared he, too, was a Christian. He said he was with Whitney almost every day, and she would carry her bible with her wherever she went. He said “her bible was torn up” from her reading it each day. Whitney had passages underlined and highlighted, he said. And if she thought she’d forgotten it, she would look through her bags and belongings until she found it. 
     Whitney’s homegoing was a testament to the love, power, and faithfulness of the Lord. Despite how Whitney died, the Lord was glorified through her life and homegoing service. I learned quite a bit about Whitney since her sudden passing. I always suspected she was saved because she would mention Jesus, her faith, and prayer in her television interviews. What I learned was that Whitney knew and surrounded herself with many Christian music artists who know and love God. She was a close friend of Kim Burrell and the Winans. Marvin Winans gave the eulogy, emphasizing the importance of seeking “first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33), “living lives pleasing to God” (Colossians 1:10), and getting to know Him by inviting Him into every aspect of our lives. Whitney wasn’t without prayer partners and a constant prayer covering from those who knew and loved her. This gives me great comfort. But I wrestle with questions about the ultimate victory in her life that probably no one can answer.

Unanswered Questions
     Why wasn’t Whitney totally set free from her addictions? Whitney knew and loved the Lord and surrounded herself with others who knew and loved Him as well. Whitney prayed daily and joined others in prayer for her life. So why didn’t God set her free? I’ve heard many stories of people who were set free immediately from drug and alcohol addictions when they went to the Lord. So why couldn’t this have been the case for Whitney? Why weren’t those prayers answered? Why wasn't she completely delivered? I just don’t understand. This grieves my heart. 
       The Word of God says nothing is too hard for the Lord (Jeremiah 32:27). And “if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15). So why did Whitney’s life end this way? Why?
     The comfort I have is knowing that she's with God in her heavenly home. She’s at rest, at peace. And one day we’ll see her again.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please strengthen Whitney’s mother and daughter Bobby Kristina and all of her extended family members and friends who loved her during this difficult time. Draw them closer to you and enable them to get to know you better, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!

11 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing. I didn't know she was a believer. I am glad you are helping people walk through this.

    Thank you for linking up with Brag on God Friday. :)

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  2. I watched the whole thing, all 4 hours, plus the commentary prior to and a little bit after. Whew! I wasn't a die hard fan, but I wasn't a hater. I enjoyed her 3 movies, and I've enjoyed her soundtracks to all of them. I remember when she first came out back in the '80s! I grew up with her. It was a beautiful tribute to a woman who really did seem to strive to live for the Lord, but struggled to. Her interview with Oprah was so revealing of the condition of her heart. She knew she was empty and had lost Him along the way, and only God could fill her with Himself.

    In my heart, I do feel that she knew the Lord, and He clearly anointed her to bring Him glory... but I also think she got tangled up in the cares of this world. It shows in her life, and I think is part of the answer of why she was not delivered and healed from the illness of addiction. As to the why's and wherefores of her death, I tend to believe that God's grace is with us in death as well as in life, and I wonder if He took her now rather than later, knowing that she ultimately needed saving from herself? Possibly...perhaps in death, she indeed found her full deliverance and healing. In any case, was her time, and who is to say would not have been her time regardless if she had ever taken a drug or not. When it's your time, it's your time! Tomorrow is not promised to any of us, no matter who we are!

    Thank you for sharing!

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  3. What a sad ending to an extremely talented lady. Too many celebrities get caught up in addictions and die young. This is a very nice tribute you wrote about her. I join you in praying for her family.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  4. I loved Whitney's voice, loved her songs. She had such a gift, and it touched many lives, mine included. I'm glad you wrote this post, and feel your grief amidst your honest questions for which none of us have an answer. I only saw clips of the funeral, as I was out of town at that time, so I felt you filled me in on the rest of it. Thanks, Judy.

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  5. Her voice was truly beautiful. May she rest in peace.

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  6. I loved her voice and her spirit. I wish she had been freed. :(

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  7. Great post Judy and great comments as well. I was not one who viewed her televised funeral. I don't watch much TV and worked that day. Only God knows all things.

    Of course, I did not know Whitney personally, nor did I follow her life closely. All that I have to go by is the fruit of her life that I saw in her movies and heard in her songs. From what I've heard, she was a lovely person and she certainly had a beautiful voice. It sounds like she had a heart that wanted to follow after God, but got caught up in the cares of this world.

    I will remember to pray for those who were close to her and all who were affected by her death.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Beverly

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  8. I read your comment on my blog recently asking me to come read what you wrote. I have not been able to blog visit for some time due to my schedule off and online with ministry... Thank you for sharing your heart Judy. It is a very sad ending for a woman with a beautiful gifted voice but the peace is knowing she is with the LORD. I had already been praying for her family for the comfort and peace they definitely stand in need of.

    God bless.

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  9. Whitney Houston was given a talent to magnify God but through the course of this life, she was lured her away....but not in her heart...she as many before her and those after her, will find a false moment of glory in the eyes of stardom and if they knew Christ before stardom, they will never find complete joy in the "glitter of the world" and I believe that Whitney was one of those that the presence of the LORD never withdrew....though she was trapped in the sins of this world, she was not damned because her creator, her Saviour Jesus Christ...never commanded us to be "perfect" but to lean on Him the "perfect" one...many have judged her, buried her and doomed her to hell....all I have to say is, " He who is w/out sin cast the first stone"....R.I.P. Whitney Houston

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  10. A wonder-full Easter Sunday blessing to you and yours!

    May you experience the joy of the Truth this Resurrection Day – that we serve the Risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

    Praise His name for His gift of salvation, and for the hope and promise of eternal life.

    GOD BLESS!

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  11. you are invited to follow my blog

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