On Good Friends Leaving

Alan Noble
2 min readJun 4, 2021

Oh Lord, you give and you take away. We neither appreciate the good gifts You give us, nor do we understand why they must be taken away, but we know that Your perfect love is manifest in both the giving and in the taking. And it is for us to be grateful for whatever you give, for however long. And to trust in Your providence whenever You take, however it hurts. The goodness of a gift is in no way diminished by its concluding, but only by a failure of gratitude. And gratitude for what is past will feel much like loss while being itself the fulfillment of joy.

And so this morning we thank You. Of all the works of Creation, none is more precious than the human person, made in Your image, made to commune with You and with each other, to love You and to love one another. We take for granted the wonder of knowing other people. Of learning to trust and to bear each others’ burdens. Of witnessing the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification in them, and in ourselves being sanctified by the Holy Spirit working through them. Which also sometimes hurts.

Today we will feast at Your table with them for the last time. Not the final time, but the last time as part of this community. Thank you for blessing us with them. For the joy of watching their children come to your table for the first time and carefully, oh so carefully carry the elements back to their seats as if they held in their hands a most precious means of grace, which in fact they did.

I also thank you that we can be at peace about their leaving, knowing that you will care for them, that you will use them to bless others. No matter how difficult and sad it will be to leave, I know that they will find a new community to love and be loved in. And that will be very good, too. It was good of You to share them with us. And it is good of You to share them with others. Forgive my greediness.

Oh Lord, I confess that I am tired of losing the presence of brothers and sisters in Christ. It is too much. I have said goodbye too many times. And I am weary. But that is okay. I am not sure how exactly, but I believe it will be okay. Which is enough.

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Alan Noble

Associate Professor of English, Oklahoma Baptist University, author of Disruptive Witness, You Are Not Your Own, and On Getting Out of Bed (soon).