Goodbye

The worst part of my day is in the morning, about three minutes before I walk out the door to go to work.

My sons always get real sad.  Today, one of them started crying.  Loud crying.

I accepted their challenge to a wrestling match and that helped to settle things down.  But when our match was over and I had been soundly defeated it was time to go.

No tears this time.

But still the same sad look.

My sons are just like their dad.  We all hate saying goodbye.

But as sad as this routine is, there is a benefit.

Every time I walk out the door to the sounds of sadness it makes me think about two promises from the Bible.

The first promise is from Romans 8:38-39.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels or rulers, nor things present not things to come nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Every morning when I leave, my sons are being reminded that they live in a world of separation.  A world of goodbyes.

I teach them this every morning when I leave for work.  But my job when I get home is to teach them of the love of God in Christ Jesus that will never leave them.  Not because of tribulation.  Not because of peril.  Not because of work.  Never leave.

The second promise is from Revelation 21:3-4.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.  He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

We live in a world of separation, heartache and pain.  We get a tiny reminder of that every morning at our house when it’s time for me to leave.  But scripture reminds us that it’s all passing away.  Something better is coming.  No more pain.  No more tears.  No more sun and moon.  Jesus is with us.  He is enough.

This week some students from our church went to do some work on a lady’s house.  As one parent dropped her son off I was an eyewitness to that moment all teenage boys have when they say goodbye to their mothers in public.  It’s the awkward, non-verbal dialogue of “I love you very much and I’d really like to hug you but just not in front of my friends.”

When I saw that, it kind of made me sad because I knew that our time was coming.  Soon, my sons will stop crying when it’s time for me to go to work.  They’ll start to realize that I’ll be back in a few hours.  And I’ll probably really miss mornings like today when it’s really hard to leave.

My boys, even at their young age, are already learning that dad isn’t always around.  Despite my best intentions, I have to leave from time to time.  But I hope that I’m doing okay at teaching them about the love of God in Christ Jesus that will never leave them or forsake them.

I hope that in our morning goodbyes, they can hear the quiet whisper of the One who says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.”