Living By Faith Blog

Icon

Biblical, battle-tested, real-life help for "living by faith in the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20). — Steve Fuller

Embracing the Grief of Parting

Goodby compfight

Sorrowful Goodbyes

As the time approached for our move to Abu Dhabi, Jan and I experienced many sorrowful goodbyes.

We have shared hugs and prayer and tears with our kids, our parents, our church family, and our neighbors.

And our hearts have hurt.  We have grieved at the thought of being far from them.  We have felt sorrow.

So here is how we have thought about this —

Goodbyes in the Bible

We see many examples of sorrowful goodbyes in the Bible.  There is Paul with the church at Ephesus —

And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. (Acts 20:36-38)

There is also David and Jonathan —

And they kissed one another, and wept with one another; David weeping the most. (1 Samuel 20:41)

 And then Elijah and Elisha —

And Elisha saw [Elijah departing] and he cried “My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!” And he saw him no more.  Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces. (2 Kings 2:12)

So why do we feel sorrow at times of parting?

Parting Is such Sweet Sorrow

I think it was Romeo of Romeo and Juliet who said that parting was such sweet sorrow.  And it’s true.

Even though goodbyes are painful, the pain is sweet, because it shows how deeply the relationship has been marked by love.

And relationships marked by such love are merciful gifts from God.

That’s why, along with sorrowing and grieving, we thanked God that we had the kind of loving relationships which are so hard to leave.

How Love Feels

Just as joy is how love feels when friends and family come together, so sorrow is how love feels when friends and family part.

So as the time for our departure approached, Jan and I did not pull back from sadness.  We pressed into it.

We did not draw back from people, as if that would make the goodbyes less painful.  Instead, we intentionally pursued people.

And as we said our goodbyes, we did not squelch our sorrow.  Instead, we embraced and expressed our sorrow.

Because our sorrow and sadness expressed the love God had given us with our friends and family.

Content and Thankful

I write these words from Abu Dhabi, which is 8,000 miles from our friends and family in the US.

Even though we are far away, and even though there were sorrowful goodbyes, I am feeling thankful and content.

Thankful — because the grief of the goodbyes shows the precious love we have in the family and friends God has given us.

And content — because God is comforting the grief with fresh outpourings of his love — a love which surpasses all others.

Comments?  Questions?

I’d love to hear them, although I might not be able to respond.  Leave a reply below —  thanks.

If you know someone this would help, email it to them using the “share” button below.  Or use the other buttons to share it on your favorite social media.

If you would like to interact with others who are seeking to live by faith in Christ, visit our Forums page.

If you would like to receive a Saturday email summarizing the week’s posts — go to the top right of this page, fill in your email address, and click the “Submit” button.  (I will only use your email address for Living By Faith Blog communications, and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.)

And here are some related posts you might find helpful –

 

(Picture by boards_of_canada from compfight.)

Category: Feeling Grief or Sorrow?

Tagged:

One Response

  1. The good part about going new places is that you have a chance to love new people. I’m glad God is making you feel content, and I hope He introduces you to many new wonderful people.

Leave a Reply

Join 2,375 people who receive each week’s posts by email

More Help for Your Faith

  • RSS Feed
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube

Feedback

"I just found your blog recently, and I've NEVER found such clarity, understanding and comfort before." (Sarah)

"AWESOME. Going to mangle this sin tonight with the Promises of God." (Alec)

"If I could subscribe to only one blog, yours would be it." (Lyn)

"I think you are really on to something with this blog. I don’t know of anything else like it." (Doug)

"Excellent comment. Really well put and wisdom that is strangely lacking in much evangelical thinking." (John)

"Thank you -- I needed to hear this. So clear and concise yet captivating." (Stacey)

"Such a helpful post. I’ve bookmarked it and reread it two or three mornings just this week." (Doug)