The death of Chris Cornell hit me hard. But not because of the music.
The lead singer of Soundgarden was one of the founding fathers of the so-called grunge movement in popular music. Cornell was found dead on May 18, and early speculation is that his death was a suicide.
As a Gen X-er, grunge figured into my pop cultural education. I wasn’t a huge Soundgarden fan, but I did love Cornell’s soaring vocals. He also seemed to be a genuinely decent guy.
As a convert to Orthodox Christianity I was happy to find that Chris Cornell was received into the Church. Raised a Catholic, he came to Orthodoxy under the influence of his Greek wife. I do not know anything of his personal piety, but he was at least within the family of the Church.
His death makes me feel old. Grunge is a spent force culturally, and the pioneers of the form are now elder statesmen of rock. It’s not the music of rebellion anymore. It’s Dad Rock.
Cornell was 52, with a history of drug abuse. But he eventually found sobriety and seemed to have fought clear of his demons. But our bodies and minds betray us, and Cornell may have succumbed to the effects of a misspent youth, one way or another.
Death and disease are part of this fallen world. Trouble is always at hand, whether it is physical or spiritual. How we live in times of trouble matters greatly.
The plight of Hank Hanegraaff continues to be an example of living in a fallen world.
An Update from Hank Hanegraaff
The Bible Answer Man posted a video to Facebook updating listeners on his condition, one day before Chris Cornell’s death. Hanegraff says that tumors resulting from mantle cell lymphoma, a rare but treatable form of cancer, have spread throughout his body.
“He told me that I had tumors throughout my entire body. He started talking about tumors in my neck, under my armpits, in my lungs, in my stomach. The more he talked, the more vacant I felt. At the time I had no frame of reference whatsoever what it meant,” he said of his conversation with his doctor.
Hanegraaff is also a recent convert to Orthodoxy, and has been shunned by some of his former business partners for his embrace of ancient Christianity. Now the news of his illness has left followers reeling.
But Hanegraaff has a message for his listeners that is an example of serenity in the face of trouble.
“The news was a blow to my solar plexus,” he said on Facebook, “but God continues to bless me with supernatural peace.
Why do bad things happen to good people? It is a question that eats at us every time we hear of a friend or loved one falling ill. We ask it when we hear of the plight of Christians in the Middle East. We pray for an answer when we hear of the death of the innocent.
God allows trouble to come into our lives to draw us to repentance. He allows us to suffer in the way a parent allows a child to experience pain, so that the child will heed the admonition.
This is a prayer I use in times of trouble. It calls to mind that we should seek God’s mercy at all times, and turn toward Him for comfort.
O God, You are our help and assistance, who is just and merciful, and who hears the supplications of Your people; look down upon me, a sinner, have mercy upon me, and deliver me from this trouble that besets me.
I acknowledge and believe, O Lord, that all trials of this life are given by You for our chastisement When we drift away from You and disobey Your commandments; deal not with me after my sins, but according to Your bountiful mercy, for I am the work of Your hands, and You know my weakness.
Grant me, I beseech You, Your divine helping grace, and endow me with patience and strength to endure my tribulations with complete submission to Your Will.
You know my misery and suffering and to You, my only hope and refuge, I flee for relief and comfort; trusting to Your infinite love and compassion, that in due time, when You know best, You will deliver me from this trouble, and turn my distress into comfort, when I shall rejoice in Your mercy, and exalt and praise Your Holy Name, O Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
Lord have mercy on Chris Cornell and on his family. Lord have mercy on Hank Hanegraaf and his own loved ones. And Lord have mercy on your people as we struggle in this world of trouble.
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