In a little more than 24 hours, we will say good bye to our oldest daughter and her family and, unless the Lord intervenes, we will not see them for another four years. By then, our five grandchildren will have lived most of their lives on the other side of the world—Little Hannah will not even know us. Perhaps we will not see any of them this side of Heaven.
I hate good bye’s.
Every separation is a kind of “little death”, and all death is unnatural in God’s view. We were created to live in union with Him and with each other. Harmony and union ruled until sin entered the world, and with it death and separation. Adam and Eve experienced “dis-union” immediately after they disobeyed God. Their relationship with Him was broken and so was their relationship with each other. Ever since they were expelled from the perfection that was Eden, they lived with the imperfection of ruptured relationships and physical separation and death. They lived with death of the spirit, too, because they no longer had unrestricted access to their Creator, and all of their descendants have inherited their curse. Sin is bound into our spiritual genes, and it affects all people of all colors and nationalities.
God hates good byes, too.
He hates them so much that He endured separation from His own Son so that we could be reunited with Him. Jesus left the perfection of Heaven and lived in a human body in a sinful world for 33 years. He lived a perfect life that was not marred by the sin around Him, and He took the curse of sin on Himself when He died on the cross. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life—no man comes to the Father but by Me.” He said, “I am the door. By me if any man enter in, he shall be saved.”
Only through Jesus Christ can we become what God has intended us to be. By trusting in Him and His saving death and resurrection on our behalf, we will never again be separated from God. There will be no eternal good bye for believers, and God has entrusted His people with the good news that Christ has died to make that relationship available to all people—not just here in America, but to the ends of the earth.
And that is the reason why Gail and John and their children are leaving again.
They are serving God in the Philippines so that people in remote mountain tribes will have the opportunity to come to know the God who made them for His pleasure. When they enter that plane and the doors close, we will say good bye. When tribal people are introduced to the Door of Heaven and come to trust the One who has saved them, it will be worth it.