Something Personal–Saying Goodbye to a Friend

Wilted RoseToday I said goodbye to a friend on the phone. She’s had serious cancer for the past several years, and in the last few days has taken a serious turn for the worse.

Let me tell you briefly about how I know Joyce. There’s no reason why you should know this about me, but I had an older sister, Sasha, who was severely mentally and physically handicapped. For the first seventeen years of her life my mom cared for her in our home–feedings, wheelchairs, minivans, the whole shebang. But we also needed outside help, and one of the people who was a regular in our home was Joyce. She cared for my sister, babysat me, and became like another family member to us. Today I said farewell to that friend.

The good news, in the midst of the bad, is that Joyce believes in Jesus. Joyce, when her earthly struggle has passed, will go to be with Jesus. And because of her faith in Jesus Joyce will, when time is complete, receive from Jesus a resurrection body–one that is whole, complete, incorruptible. And so also, I believe, will my sister. And so will I. And so will all who believe in Christ.

Death comes to all of us, and to all the people we know. And yet, in Christ, I know that all my farewells are temporary. Saying goodbye to Joyce today was essentially an, “I’ll see you later.” It’s still sad, but it is in no way hopeless. But doing it made me want to ask–will my farewell with you, one day, be similarly temporary? Have you made your peace with God? Have you placed your faith in Christ? These are, quite possibly, the most important questions of life.

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