Goodbyes – Week of May 23, 2016
As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.
Our grandchildren (and their parents) live in different states from us. Sunday family dinners are not part of our tradition. Facetime is. Almost every Sunday, we find ourselves completely focused on the precious faces and voices on our phones. Once, maybe twice a year, we are all together. The days are filled with laughter, games, great food, noise-filled rooms, and lots of hugs and cuddle time. And then it comes-like an unwelcomed guest-the time to say good-bye. The hugs are still there but the laughter is replaced with attempts to hold back the tears. As the car pulls away or they walk off to check in at the airport, there’s a lump in the throat and attempts to hide how difficult this farewell continues to be each time. And with that moment comes a prayer: “Hold them always close to you, dear Lord.”
Goodbyes are seldom easy. Distance from ones we love is often hard. Goodbyes come for many reasons. Children are grown and return to their own homes. Children grow and are ready to move away to school. Our students move to another classroom or even school. Ones we love move to another city, state, or even another country. This weekend we also remember those who leave to serve our country. The goodbyes are hard. And yet, we are reminded in Joshua of the promises of God. This promise was made to those in the Old Testament and are true for us as well. We recall how Moses left his home filled with faith in God’s plan and promises for him. We may be the one leaving or the one saying goodbye as someone we love. The promise is the same for us and for those we love. As he promised Moses and kept that promise, God will be with us and those we love. He is with each of the children we serve and their families. He is with our own family, our colleagues, and our congregation members. He is with our friends and acquaintances. He promises to never leave us, never forsake us. And he is faithful. He keeps each and every promise.
So as goodbyes continue to be a part of our lives here on earth, we take comfort and encouragement from the promise of God that he will not ever leave us or those we love. He also promises us a time when there will be no more goodbyes when we are all home with him in heaven. So we dry our tears, continue to pray for those we love, and go forth with our confidence in God’s faithful promises.
Prayer: Dear Father. My prayer is that you continue to be with the children I serve, their families, my own family, colleagues, and friends. Each day bring them closer to you, confident in your promise of salvation. In your name I pray. Amen.