The disciples had only known Jesus for three years. They were just coming to realize who He was, and now He’s leaving? They were understandably heartbroken. Goodbyes are always hard. Remember sending your child off to their first day of school? They were fine. You were a wreck, right? How about when Andy leaves for college in Toy Story 3? I was holding back tears. It’s a cartoon! Still, I was having a hard time. Saying goodbye is never easy. Whether it is you going off to school, or boot camp, or maybe getting married and beginning a new family, it is difficult to say goodbye to someone we care about.
I often use this John verse when I officiate a funeral. It speaks of how, even though we will miss our loved one, they are now going to be with Jesus in heaven. Amidst our grief, knowing that Jesus has a plan for them (for all believers) should bring us joy.
Over my time, here at South Church, I have had to say goodbye to some people I cared deeply for. When our Worship Leader Sheila Hodges left for Utah years ago, I thought we would never be able to replace her, but God had a plan. Ryan Dafgek answered the call to serve here, and we were greatly blessed. The same thing happened when our long time Church Administrator, Leslie Watkins, retired last year. Lauren Sepko answered the call, and we were greatly blessed again. Last Sunday, after eleven years, Ryan has answered the call to another church, and I do not know what is next. But I do know this, time and time again, God has taken care of us when we were in need. There is no reason to doubt He will not do so once more. God always has a plan. For you. For me. For churches. For our Worship Team. For loved ones who have died. We just need to trust in God. It is hard to do, especially when our hearts are broken, but that is exactly when we need to trust Him most.
In the Bible, God repeatedly promises us He will never leave us or forsake us, and as we read in Proverbs, “Every word of God proves true” (Proverbs 30:5). Perhaps you have had to say goodbye recently. Please, do not worry. Do not let your heart be troubled. When everything is ready, God will reveal the next part of His plan, and He will continue to amaze you!
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