A Theology of Goodbye

Jesus

“The man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying,”Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.” And he went away, proclaiming throughout the whole city how much Jesus had done for him.”

I am never good with goodbyes. Is is never easy to separate goodbyes with a sense of loss, especially from people most precious to you. I don’t think I have ever read a goodbye story as confounding and saddening and wonderful as in Luke chapter 8 where a man possessed by a legion of demons lived among the tombs; that same man made whole when the demons inside the man were powerless before King Jesus.

In these past months I have endured trials so dark my heart was as a graveyard, and there were times when this place was a sanctuary for my brokenness. And you guys ministered to me by the quietness of your hearts, each facing your own demons, so to speak, but with a courage and faith I needed to see. It is so hard to say goodbye to a place like this; to say goodbye to you who have left me with memories and faces I will always treasure.

In verse 38 of Luke 8 the author pens perhaps, in my opinion, one of the most moving scenes in scripture, which reads “the man from whom the demons had gone begged that he might be with him, but Jesus sent him away, saying, ‘Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you.’”

The crushing words fell upon the formerly demon-possessed man’s ear as a question, “Return home?” I can imagine the man’s throat having tightened and his eyes welled up, his heart wrenched like an accordion and burning with desire after the heart of his Savior. But in a moment of redemption, he reveals the fruit of his salvation when he begs, as he had begged before but this time out of clarity of mind, “Jesus, PLEASE DON’T LEAVE ME!”

I do not comprehend why some goodbye’s must be; why Jesus told him to go home and tell the story when the memory of brokenness was so close. Some goodbye’s may never make sense but God has given me a story here that must be told for His glory sake. And ultimately when faced with a loss you would never wish upon yourself, every goodbye story needs to end with that same cry, “Jesus, please don’t leave me.”

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