My earliest memories of Robin Williams are of him battling with Fonzi on “Happy Days.” Later, I always wanted to have some rainbow-colored suspenders (before rainbow-colored things took on a whole new meaning), just like Mork from Ork, the character Williams brought to life on the hit TV show “Mork and Mindy” (btw, I had a crush on Pam Dauber, too).
Mork, evidently, was the quick-thinking, ultra-intelligent alter ego of Robin Williams. It was difficult to tell whether or not Mork was Williams, or if Williams really was an alien from outer space. He was brilliant.
Losing Robin Williams was a kick in the gut. I mean, he has been part of our culture for over three decades, 30+ years! Even though some may righteously brush his death off as just another celebrity gone from the stage, he was a genuine human being with a truly God-given talent to make people laugh.
I have lost money before. Once I lost a $100 bill. Oh, I cried, but I never felt a piece of me get yanked out soul. Even though I lost that $100 bill, there were others like it in the world. Robin Williams, however, was exquisitely unique, a singular work of art formed by the Master. There will never be another like him.
Depression and Suicide
It seems that for years Robin Williams battle depression. For many, especially those who have never had to go to counseling, they think of this battle as insignificant. But I have been there, and believe me, I have the t-shirt. As a matter of fact that “demon” still bites at my heels from time to time.
Apparently, Robin Williams committed suicide. He has been called a “coward” by a few. But what’s most concerning for me is that some in the Christian community (of which I belong) have been all too quick to attribute Williams’ suicide to a Hollywood lifestyle, drugs and alcohol, or just a life of sin.
Here’s a shocker: even Christians can become depressed AND commit suicide.
There were two times in my life when I came close to suicide, the closest being when I was a teenager – I literally had the weapon in my mouth when my dad knocked on my bedroom door to see if I was OK (can you say “divine intervention”?).
Depression can come upon one unexpectedly, even when life seems perfectly fine and happy. Now, I ultimately believe that depression is a tool Satan uses, but I don’t believe it is simply a creation of his. The onset of depression can be the simple result of overworking, too much pressure, poor diet, or physical pain. Depression is NOT a Hollywood demon that attacks the godless.
And when it comes to suicide, all it takes is one getting to the point where he/she feels hopeless and out of control. It can even be the cry for attention from someone who only wants others to recognize his or her pain. I am not quoting a text book; I am speaking from experience.
What is the answer? Is there any help for those suffering with depression or considering suicide? Of course! Frankly, one doesn’t necessarily require biblical counseling or direction founded in a Christian worldview to find help. However, I personally feel that when we look to the Bible we can find more than enough strength for the weak, more than enough comfort for the hurting.
Let me just stay that it is unfair to judge Robin Williams when we don’t know what was in his heart. All we can say at this point is that regardless of circumstances, there is always hope in Jesus Christ. Despite our self-evaluations, His sacrifice proves our immeasurable worth. Despite our earthly circumstances, the purpose and future He offers can fill us with hope and expectation. However, we don’t know, at this point, from what well Robin Williams drew his strength, his hope, and whether or not he ever drank of the Water of Life.
“At times I wondered how a perfect God could ever understand
The pain I feel when I know I’ve failed time and time again
I wondered how my Lord could know all the loneliness I feel
He never felt this painful shame, no wounds of sin to heal
But that was what the cross was for!
There, in love, He opened Heaven’s door.
His own Father had to turn His face from the sin our Savior bore.
What He never knew, there He became,
And all the guilt He bore the same.
How could He understand the sinner’s place?
That was what the cross was for.”
– Anthony Baker
A final note…
There is an Enemy, the father of lies, who loves to bring pain through heartache and loss. Never forget that even though suicide may be the result of our own faulty perceptions, Satan loves to be the one distorting reality. Remember, he is like a roaring lion, roaming about, always on the prowl, seeking whom he may destroy.
Never underestimate a powerful enemy, but rest in the victory won through an empty tomb.