It’s almost 5AM, and about 40 minutes ago, a piece of my heart drove away in a minivan and a moving truck. I was fine until I saw the truck drive away. The truck that contained all the “stuff” that meant they were here…the furniture, towels, ipads, dishes, games…
Saying goodbye sucks. One day someone you love is part of your everyday life, and the next they’re gone, leaving a huge hole where all of our interaction used to be. And they aren’t sitting in their regular place at church, or stopping by to drop off something they found on sale that they know you need, or dropping by for a quick swim in the pool. And the hole feels huge, and the space they used to fill seems empty.
Ultimately, the pain is a sign that we loved big and well. We connected on a level that went way beyond just an acquaintance. We loved each other. We stood beside each other in difficult times. We laughed at each other, and at all the silly little things that happen in life. We hugged each other’s kids, shared lots of loud and crowded family dinners, and prayed for each other.
And I’m reminded that loving big means that it hurts to say goodbye.
And then my mind goes to the first chapter of the book of Ephesians, and I am overcome with gratitude for the verses that speak to my heart:
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. – Ephesians 1:3-8
There’s a new definition of family in these verses that I don’t want to forget. It speaks of an incredible love, grace and kindness that can’t be found in regular human relationships:
- We are united with Christ
- God loves us and chose us
- We have been adopted into God’s family
- Through Jesus we know grace, kindness, wisdom and understanding
- We are forgiven because of God’s gift of His Son
And when I feel the pain of being apart from people I have cared for so deeply, I remember that no matter how much they love me, or I love them, God’s amazing love is bigger even than I can fathom. And every other relationship pales in comparison.
God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. -Ephesians 1:9-11
Although I may be feeling the pain of physical separation from people I love, I am NEVER separated from the love of God. It is in Him that I am complete and have all I need. I can’t think of a better promise. Because I have been adopted by God, I will receive an inheritance from Him, just as if I would from my own father. Now THAT’S family!
He chose me. And He has a plan. And even though I’m sad this morning, I’m OK. Because God has a plan, and it’s better than mine! For me and for that beautiful family in the minivan.