Have you ever had a friend move away and realize you might never see them again? It is a sad feeling, a sorrow of sorts. Maybe you attended a family reunion where a parent or grandparent was present, and you left the gathering realizing this might have been the last time. And the saddest of all is saying goodbye to a loved one in the morning and returning to an empty home in the evening and getting the feared phone call letting you know they were taken away in a freak accident.
The longer I live the more I have come to realize, nothing in this world is forever, even our most cherished relationships. Each relationship has a date and time of ending. This is not an eternal ending, but the painful part of living this life where people depart with little or no announcement. In their passing, we are left with only memories that fade and lose focus over time.
Perhaps this is why many of us while loving and living in this life, can only find solace knowing that eternity will be a time of reunion. As part of God’s wonderful plan of redemption, our sorrows from these losses will be replaced with the joy and expectation of seeing those we loved once again.
For several years, Jan and I have prayed about the time when one of us will depart leaving the other alone. We realize we don’t have the grace now to understand or properly process that painful moment, but when the time comes the grace will be present to endure the loneliness. A wise man once said after his wife passed away, “I am lonely, but not alone.” As those we love pass into eternity their void will be filled with an extra measure of God’s grace that is a gift for those who mourn. When the loss of a loved one visits our life, the Lord wants us to hold onto the hope of His continued goodness in our time of sorrow. In the end, and in that sorrow, we will never be alone. He will always be present, now and forever.