Today, a devotion about my least favorite Robin Williams movie.
In the mid-90’s, some kids from my youth group got together and watched a movie called “What Dreams May Come”.
Do you remember it?
Most of it takes place in the afterlife. Robin Williams plays a man who has died, and when his soul mate takes her own life, he goes to rescue her from hell.
Visually, the movie was astounding. I think it won an Oscar for visual effects that year.
But one of the boys from youth group had a tough question for me that next week:
“Is my mom in hell?”
* * *
As beautiful as the movie was visually, it contained a notion I always considered to be quite ugly:
In the movie, if you killed yourself, you were going to hell.
Granted, this was a hell of one’s own making, but there was no escape for someone who had taken their own lives.
This poor boy had lost someone he loved to suicide, and now this movie had scared him badly.
Here’s what I told him:
“No. The movie got it wrong. I’m certain of it. See, the whole notion is just bad logic. Wouldn’t you think that a person who dies from cancer no longer has cancer? Wouldn’t you think that a person who is alcoholic is no longer alcoholic? Someone who dies by suicide is not doomed to suffer an eternity of depression, confusion, and alienation. They are free from it.”
* * *
Pretty good response, I think.
I also like the way Paul says it in 1 Corinthians 15:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”
That is an amazing statement of faith in God’s eternal Love. It seems to say that God’s love changes us in death.
I’m sure it does. I’m sure Robin Williams is at peace now.
But everything I’ve ever read or experienced about Jesus Christ assures me that God’s love can change us right here and now, too. While we’re alive.
Those suffering from depression are blessed with doctors, therapists, pastors, friends, family and partners.
There’s medication and there’s meditation.
There’s music, art, and funny movies (starring Robin Williams.)
Yes, we’ll be changed when we die…
but we don’t have to die to change.
* * *
I sat in my backyard last night, and I cried for Robin Williams.
His pain must have been great.
And yet I still believe God’s Love holds great promise for his soul, and for yours, and mine.
A promise not of nightmares…
but of what dreams may come.