The other day, we had a tearful moment when David realized we’ll be in Texas for his friend Elia’s birthday. When we told him that we probably would be unable to drive him nine hours to New Mexico for the event, he was grief stricken.
The last move wasn’t too difficult. David and Bethel were still little more than toddlers, and they hadn’t developed relationships with other children. Here, though, God has blessed them (and us) with other children they love and spend time with. Humanly speaking, deep relationships are not too conducive for military uprooting every four years, but God is good. My solution for goodbyes last time wasn’t Christlike. So the next morning, I asked myself, does God say anything to encourage my children about those painful goodbyes?
Yes, he does! For the last few weeks, I’ve been rereading Philippians every other day or so, in an attempt to learn it better. And as I sat at the breakfast table, Laurel said “Read Philippians to us.” So I began reading Philippians. Look!
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, 5 for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, 6 being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; 7 just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. 8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.
See here? I told my children with delight. Paul longed for his friends in Philippi. I was encouraged to be able to explain to them that longing for our friends is not unexpected or ungodly. Saying goodbye is a part of life. I asked them what Paul did when he remembered his friends. They weren’t sure, so I read these verses again. Of course! When Paul remembered the Philippians, he THANKED GOD and PRAYED for them! He even told us what he prayed, and we can pray that, too.
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, 10 that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, 11 being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
So we took time for each of them to say thank you for our friends. Then mommy prayed verses 9-11 for our friends. Saying goodbye is hard, and we will all miss deeply our brothers and sisters in New Mexico. However, it is a satisfying and happy thought that when like Paul, we long for friends, we can direct our thoughts outward and upward in thankfulness and prayer. I suspect our friends are going to get a lot of prayer here!