For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matt. 16:26)
Was not Robert Cummings the most handsome American actor of all in the 1940’s – back in the days when films did not contain any swear words or nudity? At least based on his appearance in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Saboteur from 1942, where he actually looked his very best wearing simple clothes, and where he is unshaven and has uncombed hair. Little did he know when he filmed Saboteur, that he would end up in a straight-jacket 1965 – when he was taken away from his luxurious home in Hollywood into a Psychiatric hospital as a consequence of his heavy methamphetamine addiction and altered behavior.*) Meth was a legal drug at the time and unfortunately he discovered it early, maybe even as early as 1954 albeit sporadically, which is the year when he incidentally starred in his second film with Hitchcock – Dial M for murder.
It is really tragic that he and many other actors and artists did not even know that the vitalizing “vitamin injections” from Dr Max Jacobson in New York contained meth. Had he known the true content/meaning of the drug and that he would eventually lose everything due to those miraculous injections – his wonderful Hollywood home, his previous connection with his family (he remarried), his profession as a well paid actor in the Hollywood elite, his fortune, his reputation and the possibility to a drug free joyful life – he would probably have rejected the drug from the very start. Instead he eventually became completely trapped and from then on he made sure to make the drug a part of his every day life – even if he made a couple of sincere attempts to stop with the help of drug clinics (based on an interview 1987). Sadly his life story with vitamin injections and drugs is not unique among Hollywood stars of his era and I use him just as an example.
Ja. 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
How sad it is when someone forgets what is the most important aspect of life – living with and for God during his brief stay on planet earth. A lingering depression can sometimes make a person seek God, but it is unfortunate if you must go so far and lose everything before you will eventually start turning to the only one who can save you – our Creator God – where you can find a new life in Jesus Christ. I have no means of knowing if Robert eventually did become a born again christian perhaps during the final days of his life, but his mother (a minister) was definitely interested in the Bible and tried to influence her son. He seems to have had a keen interest in astrology and numerology throughout his life.
Robert eventually ended up living all alone in a retirement home with only his pension to live on, suffering from Parkinson’s disease. His final years are of course not the whole sum of his life, and he is rather remembered by his acting performances, TV shows and his love for aviation. It is hard to combine a Hollywood life with a life with Christ, due to being surrounded by worldly temptations and a pressure to always make a top-notch performance in order to not be a forgotten name and soon be out of work.
Our time in this temporary world is very brief
Ja. 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
1 Pet. 1:24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
Ja. 1:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.
1 Chron. 29:15 For we are strangers before thee, and sojourners, as were all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is none abiding.
Eccl. 1:4 One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
Eccl. 6:12 For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?
Is. 38:12 Mine age is departed, and is removed from me as a shepherd’s tent: I have cut off like a weaver my life: he will cut me off with pining sickness: from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me.
Is. 40:6 The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field:7 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass.8 The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
Ps. 78:39 For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again.
Ps. 144:4 Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
Ps. 102: 3 For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth.
Ps. 39:4 Lord, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is: that I may know how frail I am.5 Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.—11 When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah.
Job. 7:7 Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?
Job 14:1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days and full of trouble.2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
Eph. 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.12 For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.13 But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.14 Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.15 See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
However, our short time of suffering is nothing compared to what is ahead of us, if we are the children of God:
Rom. 8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
Rev. 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Phil. 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Ps. 90:9 For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.—12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
Ps. 147:3 He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.
Prov. 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Ja. 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.9 Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted:10 But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away.11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
2 Cor. 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.
I can add that I found his book with focus on health in my book shelf – “Stay young and vital” and I reread some of it. I had forgotten that he had written a dedication to a friend on the front page (Milton Berle), and also that he had used a large number of Bible verses throughout his book to make various point. I like that he encouraged his readers to pray, not only dinner prayers. This was 1960 and before his life really came crumbling down.
*) Lertzman, R & Birnes, W (2015) Dr Feelgood