Robin Williams: The captain who went down with his ship

On August 11th 2014, the world lost the comedic genius of Robin Williams, who appears to have committed suicide by hanging himself to death.

Many of us are shocked as the gruesome news broke, as Robin Williams has been a household name for the past several decades.  Social media has exploded as fans across the world express something of their grief over a man who, at one time or another, had entered our homes through the magic of television, and has caused both young and old to share a good laugh.  He will be missed by many.

But there are some whose comments have been less than kind.

Some, stroking their own egos, have taken this as an opportunity to show themselves strong and bold, by denouncing Williams as a "weak" and "cowardly" man.  They paint him as a rich super star "who had it all."  He of all people, they say, should have been able to "snap out" of his depression, put on a happy face, and boldly face the things that ultimately led to his demise. After all, he had seemingly unlimited resources at his disposal.

The more I think about such comments, I can't help but conclude that such thoughts are way off the mark.

If you really think about it, suicide is not the exhibition of weakness, rather, it is the exhibition of great strength. And too much strength at that.

Feeling trapped and that the world is caving in all around them, without a hope in the world, people who kill themselves often feel there is only one way out, and that is to take their lives.  In suicide a person overrides the strongest of all human instincts given to us by God:  the will to live.

In order to kill themselves, a person will have to summon the greatest depths of their will and strength.  They have to summon the power to override their own subconscious and innate desire to live.  In suicide one doesn't just give up on life, and passively slip into death.  Rather in suicide, one becomes hell bent and absolutely determined on solving their problems by destroying their own life.

Suicide is not for the faint of heart, rather, it is a decision that requires an iron strong will to execute, and it requires that you give your all, and hold absolutely nothing back.

I'm sorry, there simply is nothing "weak" or "cowardly" about killing oneself.

Nobody calls the captain who chooses to down with his sinking ship while lost at sea a weak or cowardly man.  Nobody calls the people who jump from a burning sky-rise to their deaths weak or cowardly.

Robin Williams is one among many who have sadly decided that their ship is ultimately sinking, and like a captain  lost at sea, for one reason or another, has decided that he must ultimately go down with his ship.  The world around them is on fire, and they feel they have no other choice but to jump.

A person who kills themselves is making the worst of all decisions, but one that ultimately requires great intestinal fortitude in order to execute.  The decision ultimately requires one to summon almost super human strength in order to succeed.

Therein lies the problem.

God has not designed us as humans to summon everything we have, pick up ourselves by the proverbial bootstraps, and do whatever it takes to make it through this world. Instead of trying to solve our problems in our own strength and power, God calls upon us to live our lives out of His own strength and power.

But the awful truth is that we are so busy trying to make it on our own and pull ourselves up by the boot straps, that we all but block out God's involvement in our lives.

Instead of getting all of our ducks in a row and being strong, God calls us to be fantastically weak, and to cast all our cares upon Him. 

Whenever we are drowning and see no other way out, God calls upon us to trust Him through the trials and storms of this life. Whether we have a thousand options or feel like we have none, He doesn't want us to fight to survive, rather, He wants us to call upon His name for salvation. 

As the apostle Paul said, "All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  He wants us to find Him alone to be our source and our salvation. He wants us to discover that only in weakness can true strength be found, and the strength is not ultimately ours, but His.

Robin Williams tragic death reminds me that no matter how big we may be, inside we are all but human, and are all in desperate need of great grace. When we find ourselves at the end of our rope and with nowhere to go, the Lord stands there with arms wide open, ready to receive all who cast themselves into His loving arms.  He will bottle all of our tears, and He shall take upon Himself all of our burdens.  And all who come to Him, He will by no means turn anyone away.

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, I encourage you to seek professional help.  I also encourage you to call on the name of Jesus, and turn to Him for help in your time of need.  He is always there, waiting on you.