My wife and I have two very cute white fluffy dogs. Max and Maggie. They each have their little quirks. Maggie keeps to herself for the most part, but Max needs all the attention that you can give and then some more. We have grown to love these little puppies, but it was really hard at first. They both suffered from separation anxiety when we brought them home from the rescue shelters. We got Maggie first. She would tear up the blinds and poop and pee in whatever room she was in. When we got Max, we knew from his previous owners that he would tear up the carpet trying to get out. These dogs did like being away from us. But who can blame them? I don’t like being away from those I love. We become attached. We build a friendship. We become family. Whether it is us leaving our dogs, or leaving a church that you invested so much time in, there comes a time when separation is part of the journey.
This year, I will be spending my favorite holiday away from my family. Thanksgiving was a huge part of my childhood. It was the one holiday where our giant family got together and it wasn’t just about one person. It was about the family. A big football game and a big dinner to follow. It was perfect! Now that I am away and married, I am having to balance where we spend our holidays between her family and mine. This year is even harder because my younger sister enlisted in the Marines and will be gone for the holiday. We all have those we have said goodbye to. For some, it’s been the goodbyes that last the short distance from the grocery store and back, and for others, they have had to say goodbye that lasts a lot longer. It’s hard. And the holidays don’t make it easier. But there’s comfort in the separation.
One of the most inviting qualities of Christianity is the fact that the God that is being worshiped, has come down to his people, lived among them, and died. And one of the most powerful qualities of Christianity is the fact that the same God comes back from the dead. During that time when Jesus was alive, he told those following him, “I am going away and I am coming back to you.” Jesus had to go, but he wanted to remind them it was for a purpose. The Holy Spirit will come in his absence. In the middle of our separation, we have this reminder and peace that things will eventually be together again.
“Come now; let us leave.”
TIM HELLER | YOUTH PASTOR