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The human struggle

BATTLE: Whitney Houston

HER FUNERAL has taken place and prayers have been said, but we have still been left thinking Whitney Houston departed from this world too soon.

I do not normally get sad about the deaths of celebrities, but Whitney Houston's death has touched me deeply. I grew up with her music, admired her success, and liked the fact that she had a Christian background, and honed her vocal skills in the church choir where her mother Cissy Houston served as choir director.

I listened to her music, watched her films, and became saddened as stories of her struggles caused by drug addiction and a tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown began to surface, and the effect on her professional life.

I paid close attention when her comeback album I Look To You was released in 2009, and although it contained great songs it was obvious that her glorious God-given gift – her voice – was not the same.

In various interviews over the years Whitney gave reasons for her success, failings and addictions.

She spoke about the church, her mother, relationship with her husband, and her own inner struggles. She stated in one famous interview with Diane Sawyer: “I'm my own devil. I'm either my best friend or my worst enemy."

Her personal struggles mirror those of the Apostle Paul, who wrote in Romans 7:15 ‘I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do’. And in verse 21 he states, ‘So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.’

In fact, Whitney's life epitomises the personal struggles all of us face at one time or another in our lives – that struggle between good and evil, right and wrong, love and hate, God and the devil.

Our prayer, when we enter such struggles, should be that we choose that which is good and hold on to God. I suspect that Whitney prayed this on many occasions, and sometimes felt strong enough to side with good, and other times became her own worst enemy and was unable to live up to her good intentions.

In Whitney Houston’s last filmed performance she sang the classic gospel song Yes, Jesus Loves Me. While we await the coroner's report on the cause of her death let's hope that as she sang Yes, Jesus Loves Me for the last time, the words of the song resonated deeply in her heart and she made her peace with God. 

Let’s also pray for her beloved daughter, ex-husband, mother and family that God will comfort them during their time of grief, and that once the pain and grief has subsided they will be able to celebrate the wonderful gift of music and song Whitney was able to share with the world, despite her struggles.

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