The passing of Whitney Houston has taken over my mind in a way I would have not fathomed, but I dare say that I am not alone.
If I move beyond the fact of who she was and how widespread her fame had become I can perhaps begin to dig deeper into the reasoning of why her death has had such a large impact on me. When I listen to her past interviews and her undeniable love of Christ,an inward voice cries out “why wasn't that enough to save her and keep her here a while longer? How could someone with such an understanding of who God was to her leave here so tragically?” These are questions that as Christians we are not always allowed to express verbally. These are questions that are usually answered with “God knows best.”
I will never deny that God knows best. I will not even pry further beyond this questioning without God's permission in my silent time. What I will do is allow these questions to propel me into a deeper understanding of just how powerful the human mind and its will can be. I will keep in mind that although God promises never to leave me nor forsake me, my choices remain my choices simply because He created us with free will.
I have used that free will throughout my life to “explore” options that have often left me in a quandary as well as a dry and thirsty land. Only to find that no matter how far I stray and what it is I search for, there is a God in heaven who applies a balm from Gilead to welcome me back and heal my wounds. This has always been the case, and if I weren't too exhausted and just plain “over” that type of exploration, dare I say I would find out again just how faithful God is in those circumstances.
Where I stand now and what the passing of Whitney has brought to surface from within me is not as much as a life of being “on the fence” (as we Christians like to say in reference to one who is not actively living for Christ at least not from our limited perspective) but rather living on the porch where one would tend to feel more safe from the lying predator we know as “the enemy”.
You see, after looking at what happens time and again to God's children when they venture out beyond the four walls of the church into a world filled with land mines and booby traps that are set with our greatest weaknesses in mind, staying close to home can feel like the safest option. In many cases, it can feel like the only option. And this is where my new temptation lies: staying close to home.
Over the past few days I schlepped through the house in my pajamas watching interviews, news headlines and finally Whitney's home going service, looking for an answer to something that can only come from within me: “Is it possible to live wholeheartedly and thoroughly devoted to Christ and live outside the four walls when your gifting is meant for the world?” “What is so great about compromise when it leaves so much destructive evidence?”
Just when I decided that I was going to play it safe and stay in just a while longer to build up spiritual stamina so that those questions can have answers,I heard an urging in my spirit last night before I turned in: “Tomorrow, I want you to start a new, it's time to go forward.”
As bad as I wanted to question that urging, I knew that it could only be for my own good. You see, I had already begun decorating my porch and getting my most comfortable chair and belongings out there so that I can sit as close to home as possible and feel safe and secure.
That was my plan, not God's.
Today I write and share for the first time in months. I'm beginning to piece together my next one woman show and its theme and build up the courage to go back out and be the me I'm called to be...away from home...away from the four walls...but never away from God. How will I make out in the long run in terms of living solely for Christ in this booby trapped world? The answer to that question lies in not being as familiar with my strengths as I am with my weaknesses...
“How will I know?”
Bonita Jones Knott © 2/20/12