With another funeral under my belt and another friend to which I have had to say “goodbye” this week, I have begun to feel weary. Just to share a personal perspective: the preacher’s job is not a physically demanding position (most of the time) but it can be so depleting psychologically and, sometimes, spiritually. It is easy to empathize and even, to a limited degree, understand the martyred souls under the altar crying out “How long, O Lord, holy and true…?” (Revelation 6:10). As I get older and the funerals keep stacking up, it is easy to develop a sense of exhaustion and a prayerful anticipation for a place where “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying” (Revelation 21:4).

Compounding these emotions, everyday affairs of life often move those we love from place to place (jobs, education, retirement, etc.) and separate us from those we love. Unfortunately, what is often treated as a temporary parting mutates into something tragically permanent, as time and geography diminish even the closest of relationships to mere friendships, almost as if they were enjoyed in a past life. Here in Jacksboro, two wonderful families, by God’s glorious providence, will be moving away from us to begin fresh elsewhere and become a blessing to some other community and church. I fear, like many of the great families of God I have worked with, we will lose touch and slip through the cracks until we meet again in Heaven.

Do not mistake these musings for whining, for you know as well as I that separations in this life are inevitable but, frankly, I’m just sick of saying “goodbye.”

Of the many things I will glory in, when my hope is realized in eternity, is seeing all of my beloved spiritual family again in a place so wonderful it defies description and, in many ways, comprehension. As I mature and more “goodbyes” are said, one of the greatest blessings of that eternal life that I hope for, long for, pray for and even weep in joy for, will be never having to say “goodbye” EVER again! Meet you there.

Jeff Sweeten