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Michael Jackson: Yearning for Paradise Lost

Three weeks before his come-back tour was due to commence Michael Jackson, pop legend and troubled soul, suffered a heart attack and died.

His musical career stretched over 5 decades, he had the biggest selling album of all time. He scaled the heights of staggering success, and plumbed the depths of intense personal mockery.

It’s hard to think of a public figure whose sadness was more on display on recent years. Watching him change his race, his looks, his age, you saw a tortured soul seeking what the rest of us take for granted: a normal life.

A man of immense musical ability, yet as a child he was the victim of his father’s desire for success at all costs. His childhood was taken from him in many ways and he spent much of his life trying to regain it. He yearned to be what he wasn’t and to have what he hadn’t.

He wasn’t particularly good at hiding his brokenness, and his attempts to find himself where evident to all as he yearned for the Paradise that he had lost, or perhaps the Peter Pan Neverland that he tried to build.

In many ways he was a tragic figure: everything that our culture worships—gifted, rich, successful—yet desperately unhappy, tortured and alone.

Not many have their brokenness as publicly displayed as Jackson, but many yearn for what they have lost, or for what they never had, or to be someone other than who they are. The brokenness of their lives is a daily reality for them. What hope is there if all the money and all the fame in the world can’t fix the hurt?

Ironically Michael Jackson wasn’t so far wrong. He yearned for a Paradise he had lost, a childhood he didn’t have. The answer was to be found in the true Paradise, and in becoming a child once more, this time a child in God’s family.

God is all too aware that this world is not the way it’s supposed to be. Paradise, the solution to all our problems will never be found here. Instead God the Son came to provide a way so that broken men and women could find wholeness again. God the Son came so that we could be adopted into the Father’s perfect family and enjoy his care in this broken world until he takes us home to Heaven—Paradise regained.

The solution isn’t to be found here, but in Jesus Christ—that’s where we can find acceptance of who we are, strength to change, and hope for final and glorious transformation.

Mark Loughridge is the minister of Milford Reformed Presbyterian Church. He can be contacted on 074 9123961 or You can read more or listen online at