August 2011
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A Hard Goodbye

When our youngest son joined the Army, we knew that challenges lay ahead. We knew that he would face danger and be tested physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We also knew that in some ways our home would never fully be his home again. In the months leading up to his departure, my wife and I steeled ourselves for these challenges.

Then the day came when Mark had to report. We hugged and said our goodbyes, and then he walked into the recruiting station, leaving me with a moment for which I was decidedly unprepared. The pain of that hard goodbye felt unbearable. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, I can’t remember when I have wept as hard as I did that day. The hard goodbye, and the sense of loss it delivered, cut me to the heart.

In such moments, I am thankful to have a heavenly Father who knows what it is to be separated from a beloved Son. I am thankful to have a God who is described as “a father of the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Ps. 68:5). I believe that if He cares for the orphaned and the widows in their loneliness, He will also care for me and comfort me—even in those moments when I face the struggles that accompany hard goodbyes.

When our loved ones say goodbye And we have to be apart, God can fill our loneliness With His presence in our heart. —Sper
Loneliness comes when we forget about the One who is always with us.