July 23, 2022 Ron



Ron Writes

Few things are harder than saying goodbye. As Meredith Wilson wrote, “What can be fair in farewell,” “where is the good in goodbye.” Separation hurts. Life is filled with tearful goodbyes- some by death, some by moves and some just leave. Greif doesn’t just come at death, there is pain in any kind of separation.

When Paul said goodbye to the elders from Ephesus, he prayed with them and then they began to weep aloud and embraced Paul, and repeatedly kissed him, grieving since they knew they would not see his face again (Acts 20:36-38). You can feel the emotions at the end of Paul’s letters as he greets many by name who he deeply misses. Paul sent Epaphroditus to Philippi since he was longing to see them again. Epaphroditus had been deathly sick, but Paul was thankful that God had spared him lest he would have had “sorrow upon sorrow” (Phil. 2:25-27).

Scripture never asks us to run from pain. It never suggests that we merely shrug our shoulders and stoically move on. We can embrace the pain. We are afflicted, but not crushed. Paul says that momentary affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

What can we do? First, realize how blessed we are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. Love and affection come with a price. Second, embrace with joy and appreciation everyone who is still in our lives. And then, remember that it’s not goodbye, but “until we meet again.” In heaven there will be the grand reunion. God promises to “wipe away every tear” and there “will no longer be any mourning or crying or pain.” These things have passed away (Rev. 21:3-4).