Goodbye For Now

It’s funny how time works. You look back at a period of time and have the dual sensation of feeling like you’ve been somewhere forever and simultaneously feel like you just got there. I can still remember cresting a mountain late one night and seeing L.A. county for the first time. I can still remember the first time I attended Abundant Life Church (now Sovereign Grace Pasadena), walking in and only knowing less than a handful of people. Then I remember almost four and a half years of Sunday mornings, caregroups, trips to Disneyland, WCR concerts, serving, friends and fellowship. I’ve lived within walking distance to the church for two years which is the longest period of time I’ve lived at one address in my adult life. I’m a native Californian, long hair and all. I’ve been here my whole life, and I just got here yesterday.

Kevin DeYoung in his “Just do something” message at Next pointed out that the Latin root for the word “decide” literally means “to cut off or to kill”. To make a decision to move in a direction you have to “cut off” all other options and possibilities. Would that deciding to pursue my gifts through education wasn’t “cutting off”, in a sense, all the wonderful “possibilities” in California and this church with the people who have been my family and friends!

But just as I packed my newly bought truck and drove westward into the unknown I’m now packing a newly bought vehicle and driving eastward into the unknown. How like God to close a sojourn of faith with a call to faith. God has worked in this decision as He has done in the past: months of prayer, counsel, steps of uncertain outcome, and then weeks of purpose and providence. The “suddenness” has traditionally and in this instance revealed His hand in the call to depend on Him as He supernaturally opens doors and provides.

However, God’s direction is a comfort but not a total comfort in leaving the “family” I’ve loved and been loved by for so long. Words cannot express my gratitude to God for all in this church. In my mind I recall so many memories of laughter and love, serving and being served, and challenging and being challenged. So many in small and big ways have provoked me to faith and a greater love of Jesus Christ by your fellowship. (And some of the “small” ways were the biggest “ways”.) “Thank you” seems so empty, so small, perhaps it would be better to say you have reflected Christ and at times been Jesus to me.

For those in Christ we never should say “Goodbye”, it’s always “See you later”. One day, one way or another, we’ll recognize each other in the throng with absolute certainty. At that moment of “recognition” we’ll not only know each other but know exactly what God has done through us and how much His grace flowed through our relationship. Then we’ll turn and praise God’s wisdom and grace unhurried to “catch up” since we’ll have eternity to do so. By God’s grace this “see you later” in this life is temporary. (I joked with a friend that now I have a permanent vacation destination.) But either way, “See you later” Your Brother in Christ, Jay


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