I Will Always Love You

It is a sad day (February 18, 2012) for many across the nation and especially here in New Jersey, as a shining star is laid to rest. Whitney Houston grew up in New Hope Baptist Church in Newark. There she learned to sing a hymn many of us know, “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah.” Some of the words from that chestnut of a hymn are “I am weak, but Thou art mighty. Hold me with Thy powerful hand.” Ms. Houston referred to the hymn several times in interviews. We trust with her family and friends that those hands now literally hold Whitney Houston. The last verse sings, “When I tread the verge of Jordan, bid my anxious fears subside. Bear me through the swelling current. Land me safe on Canaan’s side.”

Many would be critical of the superstar. My heart finds no place for that. She was groomed for stardom from early childhood. The pressures of fame in this culture are nearly unbearable. The money and bling does not take away the quiet need for finding a home “whence the healing stream doth flow.” It is a sad day, because one who was bright among us, a Baptist child from New Jersey, was overwhelmed by the current.

It is also a glad day. As we finish the song, even “death of death and hell’s destruction” is stripped of power when God guides a child home. The hymn concludes, “Songs of praises, I will ever give to Thee.” On the glad side of this day, we can only imagine we hear the angelic voice sing out a song more crystal clear than any this fallen creation has heard. Imagine Whitney Houston gazing into her Savior’s eyes as she sings with a heavenly chorus, “I will always love you.” It is the hope of all who know and trust the saving power of God in Christ.

Pastor Frank