The End of Goodbye

“I took her hand in mine, and we went out of the ruined place; and, as the morning mists had risen long ago when I first left the forge, so the evening mists were rising now, and in all the broad expanse of tranquil light they showed to me, I saw no shadow of another parting from her.”

The alternate ending to Great Expectations is the only part of the book I actually enjoy. The word choice of the very last phrase reminds me of a verse: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” -James 1:17

As sure as Pip is that he and Estella will now be together forever, he really has no solid grounds for that belief. Even if Estella really has changed, what if they still are not a good pair? What if she dies? Or just up and leaves him?

Yes, it is just fiction, but it is a good reminder of the difference there should be between the trust we place in God and the trust we place in people. Even when the good gifts God gives are taken away, the One who gave them is still there. He never changes, even in the middle of a broken, mixed up world.

Today is a day of goodbyes. I hate goodbyes. Today we will “graduate” our 5th grade Good News Club kids and say goodbye to all the kids. Some might return next year but many will not.

Saying goodbye is even harder when you know it might be forever. Maybe I will run in to them at the grocery store or movie theater, but, for many, I will never again have a chance to disciple them. To listen to their griefs and pray with them. To see their eyes light up during a lesson and to know I’ve connected with them. To be silly with them. To love on them.

It’s hard to spend that much time with a group of kids and not become attached to them.

Today will be a hard day, and I am sure several of us Good News Club members will cry before it closes. But even though our time with the 2016-17 GNC class is drawing to a close, even though we will miss those kiddos, we still have the One who made all those relationships possible. And through the precious blood of Christ, we have the promise of eternal fellowship with our brothers and sisters in the Lord. One day, I will see many of the Good News Club kids again, as well as family members who have died, and friends who have moved away. One day I will meet the One who never changes and I will live with Him forever in the home He has prepared. There will be no goodbyes there.

“When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more,
And the morning breaks, eternal, bright and fair;
When the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

On that bright and cloudless morning when the dead in Christ shall rise,
And the glory of His resurrection share;
When His chosen ones shall gather to their home beyond the skies,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

Let us labor for the Master from the dawn till setting sun,
Let us talk of all His wondrous love and care;
Then when all of life is over, and our work on earth is done,
And the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be there.

When the roll, is called up yonder,
When the roll, is called up yonder,
When the roll, is called up yonder,
When the roll is called up yonder I’ll be there.”

-James M. Black, 1893


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