Many stood in stunned silence when the news of Robin Williams’ suicide broke. Nearly everyone was charmed by his humor and wit in movies like “Good Morning, Vietnam,” “Aladdin,” “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Jumanji,” and certainly many, many others. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times and received the Best Supporting Actor once. He received two Emmy awards, four Golden Globe awards, two Screen Actor Guild awards, and five Grammy awards. Without a doubt, Robin Williams was incredibly talented, funny, smart, and outstanding in many ways. As a result of this success, he was also quite rich. Looking at all of this together, some might say he had it all, that he was living the dream life.
Sadly, hiding behind the front of his acting roles were a number of very deep problems. Early in his career he suffered from addictions to cocaine and alcohol. He was able to kick these addictions for about 20 years, but began struggling with alcohol again in 2003. On multiple occasions Williams went to rehab in an attempt to conquer his addiction to alcohol. From cocaine to alcohol to depression, Williams dealt with many problems in his life, and we are all now aware of his horrible and tragic ending.
It’s impossible to know exactly what was taking place inside the mind of Robin Williams over the course of his life, especially at the end. Something was clearly missing. Maybe the problem dwelt in his dependence on alcohol. Perhaps depression played a significant role in his life taking decision. In the end, only God knows the answers. However, one thing is for certain, Robin William’s money, power, and success did not bring him happiness.
So many in this life look upon a person with money, power, and success and think it’s impossible for that person to be unhappy. Yet time and time again we hear of such people failing into the dark depths of despair and depression. These people are clearly missing something eternally significant and meaningful in their lives. I submit this void is a lack of relationship with God.
Sure, we might become rich, but we can’t take wealth past death. Yes, we may become powerful, but that power is nullified at the grave. Right, we can become successful, but we’ve missed the point if our success doesn’t reach beyond this earth and this life.
If we narrow it down, there are really only two purposes in life. They are to “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). If we fear God, then we will obey what He has commanded (Matthew 7:24-27). If we obey what He had commanded, then we have the promise of eternal happiness in heaven (Acts 2:38). If we have the assurance of heaven, then certainly we will be eager to tell others how they can get to heaven as well (Matthew 28:18-20). When our life is filled with obedience, eternal assurance, and we are helping to save others from an eternity in hell, it is extremely difficult, perhaps even impossible, to be unhappy.
Where are we looking for happiness in our lives? Solomon tested every area of life and found it to be pointless and vanity (Ecclesiastes 1:2ff). The only exception to this was found in obeying God (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). Sadly, many are going to continue to look for meaning and happiness in things that will prove empty. Let’s make sure we have found the true happiness of a relationship with God. Perhaps then we can also help others to find this happiness as well.