OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


            David came into Jonathan’s life immediately following the defeat of Goliath.  “And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking with Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul” ((I Sam. 18:1).  These two men cared for one another deeply.  They probably spent much time together once David was permanently brought to the king’s palace.

            Circumstances changed, however.  Saul became extremely angry and distressed over David’s success.  Saul made plans to kill his talented commander.  When Jonathan learned of his father’s plot, he warned his good friend.  Saul’s evil scheme demanded David’s departure.  We read of David’s and Jonathan’s separation day in I Samuel 20:41-42.  “And as soon as the lad was gone, David arose out of a place toward the south, and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times:  and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded.  And Jonathan said to David, Go in peace, forasmuch as we have sworn both of us in the name of the Lord, saying, The Lord be between me and thee, and between my seed and thy seed forever.  And he arose and departed:  and Jonathan went into the city.”  David and Jonathan would only see each other one more time in this life.  That meeting involved a brief period of time when David was in the wilderness of Ziph (I Sam. 23:16).

            As the close of his second missionary journey, Paul established the church inEphesus (Acts 18:19).  Because of his need to attend a feast in Jerusalem, he was not able to stay long with them (Acts 18:20-21).  He did return to the city on his third missionary journey.  Paul spent three years laboring in that city.  He developed many close relationships.  Some of his dearest friends were the elders of the church in Ephesus.

            Paul left the city after three years to labor in Macedonia and Greece.  While away, he learned of the afflictions that were to come upon him in Jerusalem.  As he made his voyage to the holy city, he stopped at Miletus.  “And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church” (Acts 20:17).  In his address to these leaders, he informed them that this would be the final time they would see one another (Acts 20:25).  Their last moments together are recorded for us in the closing verses of Acts 20.  “And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.  And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more.  And they accompanied him to the ship” (vs. 36-38).

            Departures in life are inevitable.  Individuals are brought together for varying lengths of time.  Bonds of friendship are formed.  Lives are shared.  Then, those lives must separate from each other.  It is a time of loneliness and sorrow.  There are some things that can be done to ease the pain of separation.  First, we can give thanks to God for the time that we have been able to spend together.  Paul wrote:  “In every thing give thanks:  for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (I Thess. 5:18).  Our relationships are gifts from God.  In them, we learn.  In them, we receive love, strength, encouragement, and comfort.  We need to get upon our knees and praise God for bringing us together.  Life was made better because of the time we shared together.

            Second, we should keep in touch with each other.  Paul would often write letters to the churches he had established.  He would also send his fellow workers back to check on his brethren at various locales.  There are many ways of staying in touch in our high-tech society.  Letters and phone calls are still good options.  We can also text, email, Facebook, and Twitter each other.  Just a line or two from time to time keeps friends connected.

            Third, we need to anticipate the Grand Reunion Day.  We may never see one another again in this life, but there is still coming a day when we will be united forever.  In the first century, the church at Thessalonica was concerned about their deceased loved ones in light of the second coming.  Paul assured his brothers and sisters in Christ that there was nothing about which they needed to be concerned.  One day, the living and the dead will meet the Lord in the air, and so they would ever be with the Lord (I Thess. 4:13-18).  In Matthew 25:31-32, all nations are gathered before the judgment seat of Christ.  They are divided one from another.  Some are put on the Lord’s right hand and some on His left hand.  “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matt. 25:34).  All of the righteous will enter into that eternal kingdom.  We will live there together for ever and ever.  Yes, a Reunion Day is coming.  Let’s live in such a way as to be part of those who are put on the Lord’s right hand.  I’ll see you then!