Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Separations

“When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.” (Acts 20:36-38 NIV)

Last night was our final campus event of the school year.  I know it will be the last time I see a few of our students. They may stay in touch, but years of experience tell me that life has a way of separating us from others we have known.  I had a lot of friends in college, but I can literally count on one hand the number of them I have seen in the last ten years.  Life moves on and so do we.

Nevertheless, good-byes are hard and that is okay. As believers we know we will eventually be reunited on the other side, but that hope doesn’t soothe every tear. Because we invest in current relationships, it is very natural and understandable that parting ways is sad and difficult. It was for the Ephesian elders who realized they would never see their beloved Paul again this side of heaven, and so it will be for us.  The more we’ve invested, the more it will sting.

Sometimes we are eager to cover up our sadness with spiritual platitudes to ease our suffering or to cover for what we see as weakness, but that inner repulsion in the face of separation is the catalyst for us to long for the Kingdom where there are no more tears or sorrow (Revelation 21:4) It is not the Lord’s desire for us to be comfortable and content with this fallen world, but rather to long for a much better one where sin no longer reigns. Our worldly separations can do that.  

In my life, I have lost my mom and dad and several friends to death. I eagerly anticipate seeing them again.  Why would I want to be content to remain in this life forever?  That is the point.  Heaven holds the promise of a reunion with those we love. It is the separation that creates the longing.

Today, recognize that if you are saying good-bye to friends this week, or have lost someone you love to death, that sadness, and even tears, is understandable.  It is normal and intended.  Let it serve to feed your longing for the day when all separations will end, where sorrow and tears will be no more.  

© Jim Musser 2017

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