Today I am in my old hometown to say farewell to a friend. He was really more my husband's friend than mine, but I had great affection for this kind, gentle, and great guy. His humor would make us laugh hysterically, and there was never a dull moment when he was around.
Our friend was a brother to my husband, more than his own biological one is. He was thoughtful and generous, helping his friends when they encountered hard times. He was like an uncle to our kids. He prayed for them, cheered them on, celebrated with them, and helped them achieve their educational goals. He was a faithful friend.
In many ways, his friendship with my husband reminds me of the story of David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18-19). There is no greater story of human friendship and loyalty in the Bible than theirs, and it is one worth reading over and over.
Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 1 Samuel 18:1 (NASB)
Their souls/hearts/minds were knit together as one. They were inseparable and intensely loyal to each other despite hardships and wars and family troubles. They had a covenantal relationship and were faithful to each other.
Jonathan had no earthly reason to support David. His father was King Saul! When Jonathan learned his father desired to kill David he warned him and helped him get away, thereby saving his life. Jonathan was a loyal and true friend. Our friend was a Jonathan. When word reached David that Jonathan had been killed he mourned.
Then David took hold of his clothes and tore them, and so also did all the men who were with him. 1 Samuel 1:11 (NASB)
Today we grieve, but not as those who have no hope. Our friend has been enjoying the wonders of being in the presence of God since he took his last earthly breath. His troubles are over, his hardships have ended and he is experiencing the chief end of man: to experience God and enjoy Him forever. In this we can rejoice.
We can also rejoice because our separation is not eternal. Our friend was a follower of Christ and this ensures that we will all be reunited again one day. We will all be different, we will all be glorified.
Dear Friend, the world is just a little bit uglier without you in it. It's quite a bit duller, and a lot less fun.
I am thankful that today is not "goodbye."
We'll see you later...