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Posted by Cinda On April - 23 - 2013

I don’t like good-byes. The first thing I want to do when I arrive somewhere is plant those perennial flowers, and stay put. Who knows? Perhaps I went through a traumatic experience somewhere in my childhood that has really crippled my abilities to deal with good-byes. Whatever the reason, I do not do well with good-byes.

partnersinexerI remember doing my student-teaching in Chicago through a Program at my college. There were about 20 student teachers total from 6 other mid-western colleges but I had become especially close to the girl who was teaching in the same school as I was. Towards the end of December, our student teaching was over, and it was time to say good-bye. What a difficult task. It was hard enough to part with the 19 other comrades and our 3 wonderful professors, who had overseen the Program, but parting with Georgina was something else. After all, we had been through a lot together – our daily City bus rides to school, an attempted assault on the school playground in which an unmarked police car suddenly screeched into the playground and plain clothed policemen jumped out everywhere (just like on the old TV show “Baretta”), and evenings in our apartment watching a 9-inch black and white TV, throwing our shoes at the resident mouse (or mice) we would see racing across the floor. We both decided that neither of us were good at good-byes. We took a long walk along the Lakeshore, cried our eyes out, poured our hearts out, and promised to keep in touch.

Naturally, being the mature adult that I am now, I have had to learn how to cope with good-byes, since they are an inevitable and unavoidable part of life. But I still do not care for them.

A friend called not too long ago, and said, “I just had to call – I have been missing you all. I know I just saw you Sunday, but it is already Thursday, and I miss you.” How did they know I had been feeling the same? That call came the same week that I had to miss the mid-week prayer meeting on Wednesday, and was already feeling out-of-sorts over that. Thank goodness for the telephone, for you see, when I don’t see my church family for a few days, I get to missing them. Why? Because they are family and I love them and love being with them. Family bonds are strong bonds. I have biological family (I was going to say blood family, but let’s talk about that in just a minute) scattered from the East to the West, and I miss them terribly. Some families are privileged to live all together in the same general location for generations. Their strong family bonds keep them together.

groupofwomenUCLSimilarly, because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ, anyone born again into the Kingdom of God also is birthed into the family of God. If you are a Christian, you are part of the family of God, and hence my brother or sister! (I know some of you are rolling your eyes or gasping at that.) We are blood brothers and sisters- brothers and sisters due to the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ! No wonder I have been missing you all through the days between Sundays!

In the days of my early Christianity, I was involved in groups and churches that had Sunday morning and evening meetings, Wednesday meetings, and usually every other day through the week, a group of Christians was gathered at someone’s house or somewhere, just “hanging out” or being together. We didn’t necessarily talk about the Lord all the time, but we could sense Him, feel His presence in our midst as we went about doing whatever we were doing together. We went camping, shopping, driving, riding, picnicking, eating–whatever… together. We were one big happy family.

We are still all family. When someone is not able to make it to the church meetings for awhile, we all miss them. If I have to miss a meeting, I feel out-of-sorts. I miss my family. When the church service and pot-luck ends, I feel sad, because everyone has to leave. One of the things that help me through it is the hope that we will all gather again soon.

God created us with the need for fellowship and for each other. That is how we are made. God’s written word says that we are known, or able to be identified, by our love for one another. (John 13:35) And that doesn’t just mean that we give each other a little hug on Sundays. That is our identification mark to the world- true and deep family love. We also read in Matthew 24:12 that in the last days, people’s love will grow cold. (Hmmm… We will have an easier time of saying goodbye?- just a thought.)

Maybe that is why the Lord moved Paul to write in Hebrews 10:25,“Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together.” The temptation will be to grow cold in our love and family bonds, but the scripture says don’t do it. Don’t let that love and family bond grow weaker, to the point that you do not desire or care if you have fellowship with the family or not.

So, don’t get nervous if I or someone else calls you through the week, or stops by. It’s just that I miss you. Like I said, I don’t do well with good-byes. Maybe that is why I’m so looking forward to eternity.

Know you are loved.

A Reason for Good-byes
In one of the recent comments received from the last Women’s Corner, a reader who has moved quite a bit throughout her life remarked that she did not like “good-byes” either, but as a result of the many moves, she has had to say good-bye many times. She also commented that, with those good-byes also came many “hellos”, and “that made it all worth while.” I immediately thought of the apostle Paul in his many voyages and trips for the Gospel, as detailed in the book of Acts. He, too, had to say many “good-byes”– some in the middle of the night, while hanging over the city wall! See Acts 9:25. Although the “goodbyes” were sad, the book of Acts also reveals that Paul went back to those places to encourage the believers he had left behind. Can you imagine the sweet “hellos” upon his return to the places where he had left a budding church and returned to a bigger and better one?

Many times good-byes move old sticks-in-the-mud like me to new places to share the priceless Treasure we gave found in Jesus with others in places we in our flesh would normally not go. That is what persecution in the early church did. The Gospel taken to all parts of the ancient known world was due to painful and no doubt wrenching good-byes.

When our eyes are focused on Jesus and His will in our lives, we can be encouraged and take comfort in the fact that even our most painful good-byes, in His hands, will result in wonderful hellos that He will orchestrate for our good, and the furtherance of the Good News of Christ.

As it is written, “ How lovely on the mountains are the feet of those who bring Good News.” Isaiah 52:7

Author: Ann / CCF Contributor / All Rights Reserved


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