What’s Not There

Several years ago, a well-known pastor was caught in an affair.  His ministry and family all paid an extremely high price.  He was a friend and mentor to me.  He could preach, he was writing books—he had everything… or so we thought.

After his public fall, one question haunted me, “What’s not there that I think is there?”

That’s the question I found myself asking again as I heard of Whitney Houston’s death.  “What’s not there that I think is there?”

Whenever I heard her sing, I would think “I would give anything to sing like that!”  Has anyone ever sung the National Anthem like Ms. Houston did?  From now on, everyone who sings it will be judged by her standard.  How many millions of albums did she sell? Her voice was amazing.

Sure, I knew about her rocky marriage—how could I not?  She and Bobby Brown were front page news.  I heard about her drug use and hard partying… but that voice.  We think that if we had that kind of talent and fame, we would never have to worry again.

Obviously, that’s not the case.

The untimely deaths of Whitney Houston or Janis Joplin or James Dean or Kurt Cobain or Michael Jackson remind us that happiness really can’t be bought.  Most of us keep thinking that if we could be somewhere else or be somebody else, then we would finally be happy.

But that’s not true. Whatever we think is there, simply isn’t there.  Fame is indeed fleeting and happiness is but a mist that vaporizes quickly in the heat of real life.

We need something more. We need what Christ promised… a peace the world can’t take away and a joy that is based in Him.  Everything else is… how does the old hymn say it? Everything else is sinking sand.

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