We’re told the missionary life is one that will be full of farewells. Mission staff are constantly moving around, changing programmes and leaving countries, friends and families behind. We will get used to saying goodbye.
Knowing it doesn’t make it any easier to say adieu.
This morning we parted with our three-and-a-half-year-old puppy, Steve. He’s gone to a fantastic new home with a family who will love him dearly, and we are so thankful to have found him such a perfect place. But it still feels as though a vital part of me has vanished as I wander around the house and spot what’s missing – a food bowl here, a bed there, no toy-based trip hazards discarded in the corridor. As anyone who has ever owned a pet will know, saying goodbye hurts.
The road we’re called to tread won’t always be easy, in fact Jesus promised us anything but a simple journey:
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
What a reassurance to know we’re not alone, even as we grieve and struggle and do battle with the difficulties we face. What a relief to know that troubles may come, but the God we serve is bigger than those battles. What a wonder to know that one day there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain (Revelation 21:4).
Though today I shed a tear, still there is a peace that passes understanding which reassures me it will all be okay, reminds me that I’m walking on the right path, and rejuvenates me for the next step.