Acts 20:36-38 Then Paul went down on his knees, all of them kneeling with him, and prayed. And then a river of tears. Much clinging to Paul, not wanting to let him go. They knew they would never see him again—he had told them quite plainly. The pain cut deep. Then, bravely, they walked him down to the ship.
Saying goodbye is not always easy. The people above are the Elders from the church in Ephesus. Paul had spent quite some time with them and written to them a letter that is the New Testament book of Ephesians. And now they were saying goodbye. A large part of Paul’s message was that Jesus had risen from the dead and therefore they too would have a life beyond death with all God’s people. And still as they parted from Paul for the last time on this earth “the pain cut deep.” Grief is a natural human instinct. Our capacity to bond and therefore grief is one of the things that makes human existence rich and deeply meaningful. All pain is not necessarily bad. It may be the other side of the coin of love. If you are sad because you have been separated from those you love, let yourself feel that sadness. It doesn’t mean you don’t believe that God is still in the midst of it all or that you doubt the promise of resurrection. It simply means you are human and your grief may, in some mysterious way, be part of the image of God the scriptures say we all possess.