A Lesson on Parting: A Sweet Sorrow

Goodbyes, I avoid them at all costs. I would rather deal with the pain, uncertainty, and bittersweet sorrow of goodbyes, alone, with knees pulled close, with freedom to project my voice and with tissues at hand. 

The last week and half has been filled with countless goodbyes. A little over a week ago, I said goodbye to my best friend who is following the Lord's call abroad--not knowing when I'll see him again. On Friday, I parted with about forty people who I instantly bonded with, and who are just as crazy as I am in heeding God's call to make disciples of all Nations.*

I do not take credit for this picture**
I am a firm believer that the Lord does certain things in seasons. I am in the season of goodbye. I graduated college about a month ago. I parted with the student life and many people who remain there. In less than two months, I will be saying goodbye to my family, my friends and to the USA with all that it holds-- both good and bad. 

I've asked the Lord to make me teachable, and God has a way of gracefully exploiting our weaknesses to the point with His glory springs forth. This season is not for to become comfortable or even good at goodbyes; I feel too deeply to have that ever be possible, and that is okay.

What I know is that after every single goodbye the Lord meets me as I curl up on a cold floor or on a padded chair. He whispers sweet but stern reminders about the necessity of departures.

He reminds me of the supreme blessing that it is to be able to count all things lost for that I may gain Christ.
Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ
 Philippians 3:8

He reminds me that there is a joy set before me. A joy that Jesus saw as far greater that the scorning shame of the cross. A joy that is far better than anything I leave behind.

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:2

He reminds me that when goodbyes are grounded in obedience to the command to go to the Nations for the purpose of seeing His praises arise from every tribe, tongue and Nation, I do not want to keep or be kept from going--no matter what my emotions scream or what my comfort attempts to coerce me to believe  Boy, was this true on Friday.

He reminds me that I cannot afford to stay here, where I am now-- wherever that may be. He has called me, and my bones burn with desire to join in His work. I cannot afford to count myself out of His great work. I cannot stay. Just as I cannot stay, I should not ask that of anyone else.

He reminds me that those who I part from are united by One Spirit and that we are part of One Body
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
 I Corinthians 12:12-14

He reminds me although apart, we are working together in preparing ourselves and others for a wedding. A wedding where we will be the beautiful Bride of Christ. What greater privilege than that?
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
Revelation 19:7-9

Lastly, He reminds me that the workers are few but the harvest is plenty. Because there are few of us, we all must go despite the cost. Then, we are called to pray for more workers. 
 He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.
Luke 10:2

As I prepare myself to leave, I remind myself of these truths because I can cling to them. Honestly, I know that I will have to fight to hang onto the reminders. I am blessed to be surrounded with such great people whom I love dearly and deeply that goodbyes are hard. Still, no one and nothing compares to what I have and what I have yet to find in Christ.

If you are getting ready to leave, think upon the promises of Christ. If you are getting ready to say goodbye, think upon the promises of Christ.

To the ends of the Earth, to the bloody end.


*From all Nations to all Nations.
**Image source Tumblr


to top