I don’t like goodbyes, but it feels like I’ve been saying them for most of my life. Not because of death, though. Because of life. I have so many friends who have chosen to become missionaries in foreign countries, and I’m so excited and proud of all of them. But staying behind while they go is sometimes very sad.
I’m not sad that I don’t get to go to the mission’s field, though. I know I’m not called there. Some people are called to stay behind, and that’s always been me. What makes me sad is missing my friends, their faces, their laughter, getting to be actively involved in their lives. What’s really awesome is technology has made the world so small. With a computer I can carry in my pocket, I can have face-to-face conversations with people across the Atlantic Ocean. That’s a luxury missionaries didn’t have even ten years ago. Now it’s practically free.
But Skype or Google Hangout isn’t the same as being in the room, and even though I do plan to go see my friends, there is a good chance it won’t work. They’re all scattered everywhere, on nearly every continent (not Antarctica, though I’d still love to visit just to say I’ve been there). And flights can be hard to get, and in spite of my best intentions, I may not be able to make it happen. So there’s always a good chance that when I see my friend before he/she leaves the states, that’s the last time I’ll see them.
Depressing? I know. Keep reading.
Today’s verse is Isaiah 35:10.
Those who have been ransomed by the Lord will return.
They will enter Jerusalem singing,
crowned with everlasting joy.
Sorrow and mourning will disappear,
and they will be filled with joy and gladness.
There are many perks to being a follower of Christ, but the best one is the fact that we never really have to say goodbye. Maybe in this world we might never cross paths again, but in the next world, we’ll be together. And not just for a day. Forever.
We can’t really wrap our minds around the concept of forever now. Eternity is too big a concept for our puny little human brains. But our perfect home forever will be a place of joy and light and family and friends and Christ. So saying goodbye down here really isn’t goodbye. At least, it shouldn’t be. Granted, you may get to see a friend again, but then you might not. But as long as you both believe in Christ, there’s no such thing as goodbye–not really.
It’s easy to get caught up in this life. It’s easy to think this is the life that’s worth living for, but it’s not. As awesome as our life down here can be, the life to come is better, and that should be our focus. And that’s exciting because the life to come is so much better than this one.
So the next time you have to say goodbye, remember. If you’re parting ways with someone who loves Christ, you don’t have to say goodbye. There are no real goodbyes. You’re just going to travel separate roads for now, but both of those roads lead home.