Our lives our filled with journeys. Some are short and some are long, but all of them eventually come to an end. The memories I have about the journeys I’ve traveled are not so much about the places that I went, but rather the people that went with me.
I have considered myself fortunate to have had so many great companions for my life’s biggest adventures. I have loved the people that I have served with in ministry and cherish the memories that I have made with them. I am acquainted with the heartache that comes from inevitable partings after meaningful seasons with each other. The reality is, people move on, people get sick, and of course, people don’t live forever.
What I’ve found most difficult to adjust to is life after my companions are gone. I grow to be dependant on the people that God has placed in my life. This brings me to my sorrow for Abraham and anyone who has ever lost a spouse: I can’t imagine a life without my life’s partner, my wife.
Sarah has died, and she leaves behind her husband and her only son. Abraham is left to mourn and to try to figure out what he is to do next. Perhaps fitting, is the place where this happens.
If you recall, when Abraham and Lot parted ways, Abraham settled in Hebron…
So Abram moved his tent and came and settled by the oaks of Mamre, which are at Hebron, and there he built an altar to the Lord. – Genesis 13:18
This was to be the place that he would live. The place that God would promise him as far as his eye could see in every direction. As he sat there that day, in the shadow of Hebron’s hills, in the shade of his wife’s tent, in the presence of her body, he must have remembered what it was like the day he received that promise from God. He remembered what it was like to tell his wife, to celebrate with her, and to plan for their future together in the land.
All journeys must come to an end, but most difficult for him was the fact that Sarah’s journey was now over and his journey was to continue. Every journey of significance to this point had been made with her by his side and each one was made more special because he had shared it with her.
So how does God convince us to move on when we are dealing with grief or tragedy? I believe one way is by taking us back to where we started. It was God who made Sarah, then Sarai. It was God who ordained the circumstances of their meeting, of her becoming his wife and of them settling in Canaan. It was God who changed Sarah’s name, who promised them a son and delivered on that promise, and who ultimately provided a substitute sacrifice that would save his life.
On his last night at home before undergoing heart surgery, my grandfather was trying to convince my grandmother not to make the long trip to the town where the hospital was located. She told him that she didn’t want him to go along, to which he replied, “I’m not going alone.” She asked, “what do you mean?” My grandfather, whom until that point to my grandmother’s knowledge was not a believer, responded by saying “The same one who brought me this far will take me the rest of the way.”
My grandfather had been accompanied by grandmother for most of his life. Whether or not he knew he wouldn’t come home or even see her again, I am not sure, but I know this: at some point in his life, perhaps only in his final days, he became aware of who his true companion was in life, and this brought him comfort.
If you’ve lost or been parted from someone, take comfort that the one who brought you together will continue to walk with you and promises to reunite those who believe him one day.