“At this they wept again. Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.” ~Ruth 1: 14
A dear friend posted on Facebook the other day about missing her dad. It was the 5th anniversary of his death. I easily related to her post. My sister died of cancer 3 years ago and my mother 5. Saying goodbye is hard, even when we know our loved ones are going to a good place.
While deep in the waters of grief after my sister’s move to heaven, God showed me that He made us in His image– relational. This is why we hate to say goodbye to a friend moving states away or to a loved one moving onto another realm. We are made to love and be loved. If you are grieving today, struggling with the illness of a loved one, or a move of a good friend please know that God understands your sorrow. He wired us like that.
In the book of Ruth, after the death of her sons, Naomi decided to move back to Bethlehem with her two daughters-in-law. But during the journey she had a change of heart and told them to go back home to Moab. It’s a wet, sloppy scene. Three women wailing in the middle of a dusty road. Not a pretty sight. Ruth refused Naomi’s request but Orpah obeyed. Here’s a brief excerpt from my Bible study on Ruth, The Treasure of Redemption:
I have a really hard time telling people goodbye. You’d think I’d be pretty good at it after all our military moves. But when it’s time to give our farewells I never actually say the word. I usually say something like, “See you soon!” or “Take care!”
When I was hugging my sister goodbye for the last time here on this earth, I refused to says the “g” word. I somehow managed to look into her baby blue eyes despite her inability to lift her head. (Maybe God gave her the strength to look up. It seems He did though the memory is fuzzy.) We stared into each others eyes, tears halted for a brief moment, and I said, “I WILL see you again.” I’ve never said anything with such conviction and determination.
My sister was an elementary school teacher for 30 years. Her teacher eyes could burn a hole through you if she willed. I didn’t teach school quite that long, but I have the same gift. If anyone snapped a photo in that incredible, gut-wrenching moment, it would’ve revealed tangible faith. Our eyes spoke dogged determination to believe that this was not a forever goodbye but more like, “See you tomorrow.” I could feel our faith.
I don’t think Orpah liked saying the “g” word either. Rather than a locked stare between her and Naomi with a determined statement of faith, she said goodbye with a nāšaq—a kiss that expressed more than words.
Do you hate saying the “g” word? What do you do or say to acknowledge the farewell?
Someday we will never have to say goodbye again.
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” ~Revelation 21:4
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