The Unexpected Death of Hellwig—and maybe Us!



The Unexpected Death of Hellwig—and maybe Us!

Richard Hollerman

The news has reported that superstar legend James Brian Hellwig (called “The Ultimate Warrior”) has died at the young age of 54!

The report states that he “collapsed outside an Arizona hotel at 5:50 PM on April 8th … while walking to his car with his wife. Warrior was transported to a nearby hospital … where he was pronounced dead.” ( buzzer/story/ wwe- ultimate-warrior-dead -at-54-040814)

Quite unexpectedly and shockingly, Hellwig’s “death comes only three days after The Ultimate Warrior was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame, and just one day after Hellwig made an appearance on WWE’s ‘Raw,’ his first appearance on the show since 1996.” (Ibid.)

WWE stated: “one of the most iconic WWE Superstars ever, The Ultimate Warrior. Warrior began his WWE career in 1987 and quickly went on to become one of the biggest stars in WWE history. Warrior became WWE Champion at WrestleMania VI, defeating Hulk Hogan in an epic encounter.” (Ibid.)

If you are like me, I’ve never heard of this man. I don’t follow wrestling or any other sport (out of Christian convictions). Yet we must realize that this famous wrestler was known to millions of adoring fans who exalted him to super-star status as they watched and cheered his antics, his displays of power, and his arrogant defeat of his wrestling foes!

Somehow, we may assume that strong and vibrant men and women in their prime will live on and on, reaching the “ripe old age” of eighty or ninety. At least, this is what we hope for ourselves. But no one is guaranteed this many years—and we are not guaranteed another day!  Solomon warned, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1). James adds to this by his own sober counsel: “You do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

When someone like Hellwig boasts and brags about his strength, skills in the ring, and his power over all competitors, people may tend to think that he is invincible. But, like every other man, his feet is on a very slippery surface and he may at any time die.  God will, in effect, say, “Your time is up. You must now face Me in judgment!” Nebuchadnezzar boasted of his great kingdom and his magnificent Babylon, but he was humbled under God’s mighty hand (Daniel 4). Similarly, Hellwig and all others who would exalt themselves will be put in their place by God their Creator. “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled” (Matthew 23:12).

I listened to Hellwig’s short talk before hundreds (thousands?) of cheering fans at the celebration of “Raw” where this celebrity spoke and received his reward. As I listened to his words with the realization that he would be dead the very next day, I was deeply impressed with the fact that we just don’t know what lies before us.  Read his significant words on that momentous occasion:

“Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And what that man did in his life makes this blood pulse through the body of others, it makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life, that his essence, his spirit will be immortalized by the story-tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make . . . man . . . died live forever” (a few words unintelligible).

Hellwig was accurate—his own heart beat its final beat only one day later. His lungs did breathe their final breath. And it may be true that people will honor his memory of being the world champion wrestler, one that millions adored and thousands emulated. 

But the question remains: How can one live forever?  Jesus declared, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25-26). It is too late for Hellwig.  It is too late for everyone who has already died.

But it isn’t too late for you—the reader. Jesus said that if you (and I) believe in Him, we can have eternal life.  And if we live and believe in Him, we will never spiritually die. We may not be a celebrity. We may not have wealth, or fame, or health, or possessions. We may not have worldly knowledge or popularity or earthly achievements.  But what really matters when our heart last beats and we last breathe, is whether we know God through Jesus Christ. Only through this way can we have eternal life (John 17:3). Will you come to Him and find life that is eternal!



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