Joy of Ev’ry Longing Heart Day 20
Open Your Bible
Psalm 16:5-11, Isaiah 55:10-13, John 20:1-20, 1 Peter 1:3-12, John 16:20-22
My family is good at saying goodbye.
My father served as an officer in the U.S. Army for nearly thirty years. I’m a full-grown adult now with children of my own, yet it’s still hard to keep count of the places I lived, the bedrooms I decorated, and the friends I made and lost along the way. To this day, the screeching sound of packing tape and the dusty smell of cardboard boxes flips my stomach with terror. Eventually, my older sisters went to college—one to Pennsylvania, the other to Texas. We’re all spread out now, with families of our own, disparate branches of a wide-spread family tree. Goodbyes are more complicated than ever. But we have an old stand-by to help us through. Any time we have to say goodbye, we hug, then say, “See you Tuesday!”
The phrase comes from a Jerry Clower skit called “The Long Goodbye.” I’ve never seen the sketch, but I’ve been told it went something like this: A big family stands around a departure gate at an airport making a big scene, sobbing and crying and carrying on, telling their father goodbye. They’re holding onto his arms, dabbing their faces with handkerchiefs, and bemoaning the time they’ll spend apart. Then he walks toward the jet bridge and, with a big wave and a smile, looks back and says, “See you Tuesday!” He has a thick southern accent, so it comes out “Tews-dee.” Calm and happy, the family waves back and then turns to leave. We see they’ve been engaged in a histrionic, over-reaction, sobbing for no reason. The goodbye is no big deal. “Hello” is right around the corner.
If Jesus’s resurrection mystified His followers, we shouldn’t be surprised if it baffles us today. John’s account of that morning—the quiet pandemonium, the sprint through Jerusalem, the empty tomb, the pile of linen, some in a mess, some carefully folded—rendered the disciples so afraid that next we see, they’re huddled in a locked room, terrified of what might come next (John 20:1–20). The story’s trajectory made no sense to them, despite Isaiah’s prophecy and Jesus’s words. Their story wasn’t over, and neither is ours.
The old prayer depicts a rhythm to our faith: “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” Goodbyes are full of sorrow. But thanks to Jesus’s birth, death, and resurrection, “goodbye” will never have the last word. That should give us joy and courage to stand with our eyes lifted. Though we have not seen Him, we believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible joy (1Peter 1:8).
The glorious hello is just around the corner.