Tyler Perry took to the podium at Whitney Houston’s funeral in New Jersey on Saturday, and the media mogul delivered an emotional – and encouraging – farewell to his friend, who he initially came to know over dinner in Atlanta.
“We sat there talking for about an hour and a half, about four years ago. During this time [Whitney] was telling me about her life and I was very surprised at how candid and open and revealing she was as she was talking to me,” Tyler shared, during Whitney’s “home going” celebration/funeral in her hometown of Newark, NJ. “She would talk about some things that she had went through, some things that made her sad, some things that were tough, and as I would see her talk about this, I would see this heaviness come upon her.
“I’m the type of person where when I see this with anyone, I would just want to say something encouraging,” he continued. “But before I could get words out to encourage her, she would say, ‘But the Lord…’
“The conversation went on, we would talk a little more and she’d go back into the sadness and just when I’m about to step in, she would say, ‘But my Lord and savior Jesus Christ and his amazing grace,’” Tyler added.
The movie mogul said Whitney’s words inspired his devotion to her.
“It was at that moment that I knew I would do all I can to stand with her. And from that moment to now I’ve been standing with the family and her and I’m just completely thankful to God for all that he has done in her life,” he said.
Tyler, who donated his private jet to the Houston family to fly Whitney’s body home to New Jersey, said there are “two constants” he knows about the “I Will Always Love You” singer – one — her grace carried her “from heaven down through Miss Cissy Houston” and second, it was always evident that Whitney “loved the Lord.”
“When I think about her, there’s a scripture that keeps burning in my heart. I keep thinking about the Apostle Paul in Romans when he was talking about, ‘I am persuaded that nothing shall separate me from the love of God,’” he told the crowd of nearly 1,500 mourners, becoming emotional. “So, what I know about her is nothing separated her from the love of God and if you look at what Paul is saying, he was describing her life so perfectly. He said, ‘Neither height’ – which meant no matter how far she went in the stratosphere — nothing separated her from the – neither height, nor depth, no matter how much struggle, no matter what she had to go through, what she had to walk through, it still wasn’t enough to separate her from the love of God! Nor principalities, nor power, nor things to come – nothing was able to separate her from the love of God.”
Tyler added that he believes the same “grace” that carried her throughout her life and through her struggles has now “carried her home.”
“I just want to close by saying this, because the apostle Paul said something else that just fascinates me as I read ‘The Word’ sometimes, he said, ‘What then say you to these things? That if God be for you, who can be against you?’” Tyler concluded. “So say whatever you want. God was for her, and she is resting, singing with the angels. God bless you, family. God bless you. God bless you, Whitney. We love you so much.”