II Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”
Sometimes the Lord ordains the sun to set on one chapter of your life, just so a new chapter can begin. You know the saying “All good things must come to an end”? Saying goodbye to people you love, to people you have co-labored with, to people you have ministered to, to people who have gone through thick and thin with you, and to family whom you love dearly, is a very hard thing to do. Saying goodbye is a very sad thing to do, it can be a very heart wrenching thing to do. You never realize how good you had it sometimes, until it comes to an end. The Lord brings us into people’s lives for a reason, we do not always know why, and we may never know why, but the Lord does all things for a reason, for a purpose, for an eternal purpose, the Bible teaches us that His ways are above our ways, well it is hard to accept His ways sometimes. It can be emotionally trying to accept the change that sometimes comes into our life. (Ecclesiastes 3:1 – To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:)
I have had to say goodbye to people, to situations, and to family in the past, and it never gets easy. Each time I say goodbye it feels like a little of yourself is left in those people, in those circumstances or in that setting. If you have been ministering to a group of people, you have watched over their souls, you have brought their names to God in prayer, over and over again. When you see them and talk to them you are watching for any little indication of how they are doing spiritually and you try to minister to them in some way. Life is not always a happy situation; life comes with its share of sad goodbyes, as well as its share of happy tomorrows.
I had to tell the news of my imminent departure to the group of people I have been pouring my life into for the last six years recently, and if it were not for the strength the Lord gave me at that moment I spoke the words, letting them know I would soon be leaving, I could not have told them on my own. The Lord provided the strength for the goodbye, just like He provided the strength and the wisdom all those times I taught them, and sought to minister to them in some way. The Lord is my strength, I shall not be moved, unless it is the Lord who is the one moving me. My parting admonition to them would be what Paul said in Ephesians 6:10 “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
The Lord orders the steps of a good man, the Bible teaches us. Looking back over the years of my life, I can see the Lord neatly and in a very organized way ordering my steps, training me along the way, and preparing me for His service. It may have taken a lot longer in my case to get me ready for what He was wanting to do with my life, I kept thinking throughout my early years, I was just too shy, I was too unusable to do anything of real consequence for the Lord. Boy was I wrong, everything we do every ministry we have, no matter how big or how small, if we are doing it for the Lord, is of great consequence for Him, and for His kingdom.
I can see how all the ministries I have participated in, all the secular jobs I have held, all the schooling I have taken, all of it was ordered and designed providentially to train me, to equip me, to enable me for the ministry God had, in His loving and providential wisdom, had willed me to do. Do not ever think you are unworthy for the service of the Lord. I, of all people, should not be able to do what I am doing and will soon be doing for the Lord, it is definitely not a natural thing for me to stand in front of people and talk, leading others is not something I have ever strived to do, but all throughout my life, God has put me into leadership position, after leadership position, all without my trying to attain that position. I always tried not to be the leader or supervisor or manager, but I always inevitably would end up in that position. I never wanted to stand in front of people and talk, but over the course of my life, the Lord has put me in that position over and over again. He had a plan, and He wanted me to know clearly it was not of myself, that I was able to do this or that for the Lord, it was and will continue to be, all by the Lords enabling that I have been able to do this or that for the Lord and that is how it will continue in my life. (I Timothy 1:12 – And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;)
Goodbyes are sad, goodbyes are hard; goodbyes though mean a new beginning is around the corner. When we say goodbye to a loved one, who is entering eternity with Jesus, it is sad, it is hard for us; but they have just entered a new glorious beginning to a new and joyous chapter of their life. They get to see Jesus, they get to worship their Savior face to face, they get to wrap their arms around their Saviors neck and sob tears of joy and thankfulness to Him, what a glorious future Christians have to look forward to. Goodbyes when we change locations are also truly sad, these can be stressful as well, but look toward the Lord, look toward Him for guidance, for help, for comfort and for joy. He will help you to adjust to the change, He will lead you into the paths of righteousness, He will not suffer us to be lost along the way. He will encourage you if you let Him do so. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and all your being and all your soul, and do not lean on your own understanding of the situation, instead lean on God and trust His sovereign will and His sovereign understanding of the whole situation, of the big picture in our life.
Goodbyes are hard, but the Lord is bigger than any goodbye we may ever have to face, just point your face to His and just trust and obey His direction in your life, “Finally, brethren, farewell.”