Update, March 2019: This was written shortly after we moved to Florida in June 2018. Some things came up that were unexpected and beyond our control, and we had to move back to Fort Worth in November.
For the past several months, I’ve taken a bit of sabbatical from writing these weekly devotionals. My wife and I had a lot going on. The whole process of selling our home in Keller, Texas (which took way longer than we thought it would) and buying a home here in Florida was very time consuming and distracting….to say the least. And there were some other things going on that I don’t need to mention here. But now that we’re getting settled in, I can start writing with some consistency again. At least, I hope so anyway.
As part of the process of getting settled in, my wife and granddaughter and I joined First Baptist Church of Palm Coast [Florida] Sunday the 22nd of July by transfer of letter. We’re still in the process of looking at Bible classes, but we have a found a church home.
As for the title of this devotional – The Pain of Separation – I recently transferred to a new position within Southwest Airlines, moving from Dallas to Orlando. Although I believe God had his hand on this transfer, since the door was opened at just the right time, it still came with its own set of challenges. You see, our home in Palm Coast is exactly 100 miles from my job at Orlando’s airport. Because of the distance involved, I had to find a room to rent in Orlando during the week when I have to work. It has not been fun. In fact, being away from my family four days a week is downright painful. It’s not something I’m accustomed to and it’s more difficult when you’re older.
However, the separation from my family during the week has given me some insight into what it must be like for military personal who are deployed overseas for long periods of time. At least I get to go home at the end of the week. It’s also given me a glimpse of another type of separation, one that no one should want to experience, and that would be the separation that a person will experience for all eternity should he or she die without accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. If being away from family for a few days a week is this difficult, then I shudder to think about what it would mean to be separated from God for all eternity.
Jesus made it very clear in the parables that are recorded in Matthew chapter 13 – The Parable of the Weeds, The Parable of the Net – that a time is coming when wicked and sinful people will be taken away.
“Matthew 13:40-43 – As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out His angels and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. they will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
Those who have rejected Jesus Christ will be separated from those who have accepted His grace. Jesus made that very clear. And they will be separated from God forever. Worse yet, they will know it did not have to be that way. When an unbeliever dies, they will know that at that moment that everything written about Jesus Christ in the Bible is absolutely true. They will know because the Bible says they will know. I believe Paul makes this very clear in 1 Corinthians 13 verse 12 where he wrote, “Now, I know in part; then I shall know fully…” The believer will know the joy of being in the presence of Christ forever. The unbeliever will know nothing but the pain of separation from God for all eternity, a pain that will be made all the worse by knowing that their fate could have been avoided. And that is a pain that no one should want to experience. We don’t want our loved ones or our neighbors to experience the eternal pain of being separated from God for all eternity. That is why we must never, never stop sharing the love of Christ. There is too much at stake. The pain of eternal separation from God is too great for us not to share His offer of grace.