I’ve lived a lifetime of goodbyes. Born in Ohio and currently in Alabama by way of South Carolina and two different stops in Tennessee. I have had others leave and I have done the leaving and, truth be told, it hurts either way. Goodbyes just aren’t my thing.
I wanted different for my children. I envisioned them, as adults, coming to visit me as I still lived in the home they grew up in. I wanted them to have life-long friendships. Maybe they would even marry childhood sweethearts. Yet, our family has moved and two of the four will have no memory of the house they came home to from the hospital. The goodbyes have already begun for them.
The reality is, no matter how much I wish it were different, goodbye is a part of life. Circumstances change. People change. And goodbyes are painful. Often, we must leave a situation or relationship that we hold dear. Sometimes, we have no say in it. We lose someone to an illness or tragedy. Maybe someone chooses to walk away and a relationship is broken. No matter the scenario, goodbyes are rarely good.
And, through it all, we learn to hold very loosely to the things of this world. We place the things and people we cherish in open palms and not closed fists. We entrust those we love to Him knowing that He loves them even more. We trust Him to restore joy and redeem pain.
The key to surviving a goodbye is to want Him more than anything. We must say as did the psalmist…
…There is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. – Psalm 73:25
If the Lord calls us to a goodbye, we can know He will bring good from it. If it’s a painful goodbye, we can know He allowed it and can use it to bring glory to Himself. But we must want Him more than the thing, place or person we are leaving behind.
We will hurt. And it is okay to grieve what we have lost. But, at the end of the day, we must say, Lord, I want You more. We must move forward with Him knowing that He is enough. All of the painful goodbyes do not change the fact that He is everything we need.
Life with Christ is an eternal hello which, in the end, will be worth all of the worldly goodbyes.