Last Sunday I heard the very sad news of the death of Peter Roebuck, aged 55. If you’re not a cricket fan that name might not mean much to you, but for cricket fans Roebuck was one of the most respected and loved voices of radio cricket, as well as a much admired cricket columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. Roebuck never tired of having his own unique perspective on the game. His radio commentary was always lucid, often humorous, deeply insightful and occasionally even a little caustic. In many ways his columns continued the legacy of the late, great Bill O’Reilly with wit, irreverence and charm. The upcoming cricket season will be much the poorer without the presence of Peter Roebuck.
The mystery of his death has been widely reported in Australia. The Australian press stated that there was nothing suspicious about his death and that the last person to see him was a police officer who said he was in a somewhat distressed state. The Australian press repeated the phrase that he was found dead in his hotel room. It has now been reported, first in other countries and now belatedly in Australia, that Roebuck committed suicide. It is now being widely stated that he had fallen (jumped) to his death from his sixth floor hotel room following a visit from the police.
In his last column Roebuck, responding to the debacle of Australia’s defeat in South Africa, reflected on which Australian players may be facing the axe. Ironically Roebuck’s penultimate sentence used these words:
“Mind you, a lot can happen in a week.“
To take one's life is a decision based on the conclusion that there is no other way out. When despair and depression overtake our normal mindset, we become convinced that nothing will ever change. Faced with life’s problems and the despair of our own weakness, many often feel like there is no hope. When we have an abundance of problems caused by others, by ourselves, or by bad luck, we often feel there is no way forward.
For believers our hope is always for a better day. A lot can happen in a week. A run of luck can change. The impact of others on our lives can be reduced by their behavior changing or our reactions being different. Even our darkest personal problems can find light when we face the mess, humble ourselves before God and determine to start again. Sometimes God mercifully parts the clouds and the sun shines again. To know that our mess is always still in God’s hands is a comfort and blessing.
Our circumstances will often seem bleak and at those times, with faith, we need to live in hope, as …. a lot can happen in a week.
My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me. Psalm 31:15