Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Land of No "Goodbyes."

Being a member of the Lord's church is sometimes bitter sweet. There are no people on earth that compare to the people in God's spiritual family. The closest relationships we will ever know in this life will be found with the Lord's people. We share our deepest anxieties and feelings. We work alongside each other. We spend our social time together in friendships. We travel around the world together, staying in intimate settings, spreading the gospel of Christ. We laugh together. We cry together. We even disagree and have hurt feelings and fight and make up. We dream together. We do life together.

And then, in a moment, someone we've gotten so close to has to leave. They have to go somewhere else and do the Lord's work. The kingdom of God is bigger than any of us individually. When I decided to work full-time for the Lord I knew it would mean living in different cities and having no permanent, life-long hometown. But I am completely alright with that. The new Jerusalem is supposed to be my hometown anyway (Heb. 11:13-16; Phil. 3:20).

Christians who know agape love - "God love" - the altruistic (your needs are above my needs) love, experience a supreme fondness for others which brings a sense of loss upon separation, and at the same time they can cheer for those who leave them behind for the sake of the kingdom. That is what is so bitter sweet. You can learn to love someone completely, as family, and at the same time you can root for them when they leave home, though they are most likely never to return.

There is an inexpressible yearning of the heart that longs to be communicated with those we love who leave. No words can be spoken to explain the level of our thanksgiving to the people who have loved us and made our lives better by their presence and their sacrifice. There is rarely enough time to express it anyway, because we blink and they are gone. We have all had loved ones leave us. They have taken their last earthly breath and have stepped into eternity. How we long from time to time to tell them they are loved and they are missed! Oh, how we want them to know they remain so close to us inside our thoughts and within our hearts!

As James and Whitney Lane leave us here for the next chapter in their lives, I cannot help but admit that I am sad they are going. But it is a good kind of sad. It means they have done well here. It means they have loved and are loved. It means they have made a difference. It means they have done what God would have wanted them to do in His church. And what makes this acceptable is the place God is preparing for us that will be beyond our comprehension. It is God's prescribed location for the eternal family reunion, at the banquet table of our Lord, for all of the children of God. It is a land without sorrow, death, pain, or tears. It is a land of love and joy and peace. It is a land of "hello" and "welcome home forever." It is a land of no goodbyes.

"...in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit." ~ Ephesians 2:22

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