Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow


Earlier today I was listening to part one of Alistair Begg’s message “Sent, Sold, Sad, Safe” from his The Hand of God series about Joseph. Joseph is one of my favorite characters in the Bible. In Genesis 37:14, Jacob asks his 17-year-old son Joseph to check on the well-being of his brothers and the flocks and then report back to him. Little did Jacob know that he wouldn’t see his dear son again for 20 long years. Twenty years before he got another hug, heard Joseph’s voice, enjoyed his fellowship and the warmth of his company. Begg speculates that Jacob watched Joseph for a long while as his son walked away, and that Joseph turned back to look at his father often.
Begg says that there is a last time for every journey. You’ll never know the last time you will kiss your wife. You’ll never know the last time you’ll kiss your Mom goodbye. He tells us that it is good to make much of our partings.
That got me to thinking how we handle good-byes. We’ve had a number of people move away from church, and specifically our small group, over the past few years. I have to admit that I hate good-byes. Although happy for those that are moving, because they are happy, it is still a loss for us. A loss of relationship. Facebook just doesn’t cut it. My wife won’t even say “Good Bye” in such instances. It’s just too sad. Instead, she says “See you later”.
Another example of this for me was saying good-bye to so many work friends when I retired last year. I knew that there was a good chance that I’d never see many of them again, especially those located in other cities, and it made me emotional.
Most of us probably take our good-byes pretty casually. And yet, one day, in each relationship, there will be a final time, a final good-bye. That thought has come to me more as I’ve gotten older, and family members and friends have gotten older or moved away. Maybe you’ve thought about that too.
I can still remember leaving my childhood home after visits. My Mom would come outside, stand on the front step, watch us leave and wave. My dear mother-in-law does that today as well.
A few years ago, my father-in-law died. My wife and one of her sisters had just had a very good visit with him. He was sharp, alert and in a great mood. When they left their parents’ home that morning, they didn’t know it would be the last time they would see him. We need to make much of our partings.
This is a good reminder – don’t forget to tell those close to you that you love them. Do it often. When you kiss your spouse good-bye in the morning, tell them that you love them. When you send your kids off to school in the morning tell them that you love them. Tell your friends how much you care about them and how much they mean to you.
How will you plan to make much of your partings?

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

5 thoughts on “Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

  1. I like “see you later” which seems to express hope of a reunion. But I’ve also heard that “Goodbye” comes from a shortened version of “God be with you til we meet again” which if it’s true is lovely!

  2. Great reminder! Many of us have family and dear friends living in other states and other parts of the world. Some of our last goodbyes have already happened, I had said my last goodbye to one of my sisters and my only brother this past year, only I didn’t know it. I want this to make me more mindful of my hellos and goodbyes!

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