NOT “Goodbye”

The object of the Christian faith is the glory of GOD (Isaiah 43:6-7). That means absolutely nothing to an unbelieving world.

I’m writing this the day after the largest mass shooting in the history of Texas and as of now the death toll stands at 26 lives that were taken…in a church. Predictably there is an inundation of commentary dominating the airwaves and internet on what happened – and the very common, “How can a loving God allow something like this?”. Before I go further in this writing let me just state that yesterday’s events did not surprise God, nor is He any less loving because of it. We (all people) live in a fallen world that is mired in sin…His love was settled long ago with the atoning sacrifice of His Son. Prayerfully, the 26 souls that left this existence yesterday have no desire to return to this place…my heart goes out to their families and our prayers are for their comfort now and in the days to come.

I’ve also had a front row seat to a number of friends who have recently had to be separated from a loved one. In my mind and my heart there is a huge difference between “goodbye” and “see you later”…it’s not just a semantic. Here’s why…

The Bible is crystal clear on the issue that we were made for eternity…whether we live forever is not the debate…it’s where (John 5:24; Hebrews 9:27). Scripture calls people to submit to GOD and to trust in what He has done for them and not anything they could ever do for themselves (John 6:44). For those that He has drawn to Himself, death is nothing to be fearful of and is only a very temporary separation from our family in Christ left here. A “see you later”.

Because we are image bearers of GOD we do have seemingly contradictory emotions and feelings that we have to deal with and work through. Namely the co-mingling of joy and mourning. We do celebrate the final, ultimate freedom our loved ones now enjoy in The LORD’s presence (our greatest gift and blessing)…no more sin, no more sickness, no more ‘ick of the world’.

We’re also understandably sad that we now deal with a separation we’ve never experienced before. It’s okay for us to mourn and grieve…we need to.

Jesus is recorded as having cried twice on the same hill (Mount of Olives) – these are recorded in John and Luke. And while we read in English translations the word “weep”, the Greek that it was written in uses two different words to describe what that meant. When Jesus wept for his friend Lazarus the word used (John 11:35 dakruo) was one that meant warm, loving tears of compassion for Lazarus’ family…the second time Jesus cried, He did so over Jerusalem – and the word used there (Luke 19:41 klaio) was one of a deep sobbing/wailing because of the city’s rejection of Who He was and what would befall them in the days to come.

The question we should all be asking ourselves is, “How does He cry for me?”. Does Jesus cry the warm tears of compassion that He did for Martha and Mary? Or, does He weep over a stiff-necked rejection of Who He is in your life?