I've been sad today. We have some dear friends who are moving to the North Carolina tomorrow. It's in these times I'm reminded I don't like this kind of change. I don't mind rearranging bedroom furniture 3 times in a week (that kind of change I thrive on), but I don't like the way friends come and go. It's a natural flow and I trust there's a proper rhythm to it. But it sure makes me ache inside. Our pastor prayed over this family on Sunday, sending them off on their way, and he spoke of how this sort of goodbye makes him long for heaven, where goodbyes and tears will be no more. I've been thinking about those words this week and how they seem to join the refrain I'm hearing of late: the one echoing the reminder that every good thing we enjoy on earth will fade. It's a sad, true tune. The minute I grasp one good, happy, longed-for thing (i.e., marriage, job satisfaction, a growing friendship, that rug I've been wishing for, ____), I'm abruptly reminded that it won't last. As a baby grows up and is no longer dependent on her parents, as each flower blooms and falls to the ground, as every good day ends with the night...so will each good thing pass away from us.
But (thank God there's more) then I hear things like, "The grass withers and the flower fades,"the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14), and I make out that voice again, the blessed reminder that there is one Good who will not fade. One who will not shift like the shadows (James 1:17). He will never move away. And he is able to fill in and ease all these cracked, achy places, able to satisfy our every longing.
In this season especially, I'm reminded and I'm thankful, so thankful, that Jesus came. God knew, of course, that we would be weary and struggling in our own darkness and sinful muck. He knew well this fleeting world and the lost creatures in it. And so he broke in. He put on flesh and came to us. He took his immortal, universe-creating power and pressed it into a tiny human embryo that would be born like us and die like us. This to show us that he loves us. Do you know how much? We simply cannot get it into our heads. It's far too great. But I want to believe it more. So, I pray we will. And that we will be encouraged by the truth that when everything, everything is changing and ending and leaving us achy and sad, there is One who will not, cannot change or leave us wanting. And he is for us, with us, and abounding in love for us.
"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shined."
"Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee."