CALIFORNIA—Some 30 miles north from where I live in the town of Tiburon in California, a celebrated actor and beloved comic genius took his life last year.
The world mourned the death of Robin Williams. His many fans reeled from the tragic news and remembered the body of work he left behind. One modest movie, a box-office bust, had resurrected on the third day after his death. “What Dreams May Come” became the 40th top-selling movie on Amazon, ahead of “Hook” and “Aladdin.”
Given the film’s themes of sacrificial love and heavenly hope in the midst of human struggle and suicide, it wasn’t any wonder why fans were drawn to “What Dreams…” in the wake of Williams’ passing.
It tells the story of Dr. Chris Nielsen (Williams), a man who suffers the agony of losing two children in a car accident. Chris and his wife Annie are broken beyond repair and on the brink of losing their marriage.
To add pain, Chris dies in yet another car crash, leaving Annie alone and unable to cope with the loss of her entire family. Overcome by grief and hopelessness, she takes her own life.
When Chris learns of Annie’s destiny in hell, he sets out from paradise to rescue his lost soul mate from eternal perdition.
Like Annie, many refuse to accept the reality that there is a life that offers hope and love—a life of lasting joy. To the world, death is the end of life. Those who walk by sight can’t see beyond death.
It is for this reason that the world fears death. People fear what they do not know. And so they strive to avoid death, even if they know that it is our common lot.
No second chances
We are all going to die one day. Hebrews 9:29 says, “Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences.” We are left with no second chances after death, but just one choice before it happens.
We should always remember that, here on earth, we are pilgrims passing through. Unfortunately, many of us call the wrong place home and live our lives as if it all ends here—as if hope ends here. This place, filled with sad stories and broken hearts, cannot be called home. We are headed to our heavenly home.
None of us are going to be on earth for all eternity, because we have lived good, wholesome lives. We are going to our heavenly home, because Christ died on the Cross for us—the penalty for our sins that separated us from God.
For each of us, a time is coming when we will step from time and into eternity. But is it eternity with the Lord?
Eternity has two places—the heavenly realm where Christ reigns and the region of hell, a fiery furnace where Jesus said there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Our own dreams will not deliver us into a heaven of our own choosing. We don’t get to hammer out our own philosophy of hope.
As much as we like the idea of Chris taking matters into his own hands to save his wife, there won’t be someone who will come to our rescue. Jesus said, “I go and prepare a place for you. I will come again and will take you to myself.” He is designing our dream home.
Our hope shouldn’t be anchored in a place where our own dreams may or may not come true, but in someone who will surely come through for us.
Are you wondering where your departed loved ones are today? Do you know if they made it to their heavenly home? We will miss them and mourn their loss because they are no longer with us. But we who believe in Christ do not grieve as do others who have no hope.
The grave does not have the last word over our lives, as well as the lives of our precious family. We will see each other again at the resurrection of God’s people.
Annie couldn’t cope with the loss of her loved ones because she had no hope. Only through the eyes of faith can we see beyond our doubts and fears, our death and dreams. We will come to a place where God offers His presence in our darkest moments. And hope will shine through the hopeless situation.
May God grant us the supernatural strength to stand our ground and “hope against all hope.” This hope will not lead to a disappointing end but to the Deliverer of a new beginning.