And now I know that none of you to whom I have preached the Kingdom will ever see me again. Acts 20:25 NLT
Goodbyes are never easy.
Goodbyes were a normal part of my life while growing up. Some preachers stay at one church for a long period of time, but my dad never did—at least not until I left home. I’m not sure why he felt the urge to leave so soon. His reasons varied. I sometimes think he had a restless spirit. Or the people in the churches just weren’t responding as he wanted. For many years, his excuse was that he wanted to be an evangelist.
Whatever Dad’s reasons were for short-lived ministry stints, they made me say goodbyes often—to friends, to family, to teachers. Some can remember their kindergarten teacher as well as the names of people they attended all grades of school with. I can count all of the above on one hand.
Some of the folks I said goodbye to, I saw later in life. Most of them, I didn’t. When Paul asked the elders from the Ephesian church to meet him at Miletus, he knew he’d never see them again. He was on his way to Jerusalem, and God had revealed that evil and suffering awaited.
Having followed in my father’s footsteps, I’ve watched many others say goodbyes too. A part of ministering to people is burying them when they die. And saying goodbye is parcel to the receiving of friends and funeral process. Families do it in different ways, but they do it nevertheless.
For believers who know their deceased loved one is a believer, the goodbyes don’t seem to be as difficult. They believe they’ll see their loved one again. Those who don’t know Christ—or whose loved one doesn’t—don’t have the same hope.
So how do we make the goodbyes more palatable? Make sure your relationship with Christ is settled. Then talk to your loved ones who don’t know Him. This way the goodbye can be temporary. Settle accounts with others before the time comes to say goodbye. Ask for forgiveness. Once the last breath is drawn, it’s too late. Other less effective measures must be used. Spend time together now. Don’t say we’ll get together one day. One day may never come. Now is the time for forgiveness, love, and time together.
Settle accounts now and enjoy time with your loved ones so that when it comes time to say goodbye you won’t have any regrets.
Tweetable: Why is it hard for you to say goodbye?
Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us time to love and enjoy relationships with others.