Monday, July 23, 2007

Bittersweet The Partings

Two days from now we will have graduation at FFI.

This has been one of the most magnificent summers of my life - probably my favorite so far as I can remember. Incredible fellowship, incredible community, incredible opportunity to serve. It has far surpassed my imagination of what it might be. God has shown up in marvelous ways. His glory radiates in the eyes of those who are here.

Yesterday we shared our testimonies of what God has done in us this summer, and affirmed each other in an incredible way. It was one of the most amazing times I've ever had. There was joy; there was grief. There was a glad sorrow about the time... The sky in our hearts was a mix of blue and white and gray, golden beams streaming down on a late summer afternoon.

I am incredibly excited about the days ahead, about the fruit this time will yield. Yet I am also incredibly melancholy, for I do not want to leave this place. There are many people I am just beginning to know - wonderful people who reflect the beauty and glory of God in remarkable ways - people I want to continue to draw close to, and yet will not, because distance and time will separate us indefinitely. We will remain close in heart, and we will continue to support each other, arms linked across the miles... but we will not be together, and that is a sad thing. I am reminded of something J. R. R. Tolkien wrote regarding the end of the Third Age of Middle Earth - but that rings true of all our partings in this fallen world: "And in all things, now, joy is mingled with sorrow..."

This summer has made me hungry for heaven, when these partings need not come and certainly never need be sorrowful. I long for the day when this great company of warriors - this great cadre of servants - is reunited on the other side in unison, rejoicing at the marvelous works God has done in days between.

I am ready for us to go. The time has come. It would not be good for us to stay here; we must move on, pressing forward with the commission we have been given. But that does not make the parting any less bittersweet; nor does it reduce the melancholy of the moment. I recall my mother mentioning similar sentiments when the time came for me to move out for the first time when I left for Oklahoma two years ago, and I now begin to catch the slightest glimpse of the way she felt in that moment - though I shall never understand, I think, the depth of sorrow that penetrates a mother's heart as her children leave the nest.

I am glad to have been here, though I know not what God's purpose was in these months - I need not know, save that His glory is being served and His desires fulfilled. That is more than enough for me.

I pray His peace be with you all, especially those of you reading this who walk through the same transition. May His glory be the joy and the delight of your heart!

- Chris

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