How Do You Cope When God Calls Friends Away?

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When God Calls Friends Away
My friends in the ministry have come and gone through the years, so I am no stranger to the conflicting emotions involved when a friend is confident of God’s calling to another place. Each time it has happened in the past, I have felt strengthened and comforted by the Holy Spirit. Even though I felt, humanly speaking, that I was losing a friend, I was able to accept the spiritual reality. The Lord gave me peace when it was time for my friends to fulfill their calling.
However, I am not doing so well this time. This time my friend is also my mentor, my helper and my confidant who quietly restores me to Christ when I’m going berserk. She has been my Paul, as I’m sure I have been her Peter. And I cry as I write because I will miss her. I will also miss her family, but I will mostly miss her. God has used her in amazing ways to reach me, to bring me back to him, and for that I am forever grateful.
On the outside I’m supportive and encouraging, but on the inside I’m being emotionally torn apart. And, as silly as it seems, I feel as if I’m in mourning. It’s not like I’ll never speak to her or even see her again, but the loss of her sweet fellowship is overwhelming. And I don’t have peace this time. For whatever reason, I don’t have peace even though I continually ask God for at least an ounce. But the absence of peace makes me rely on Him even more because I know he sees my heart and feels my sadness.
The Lord is right here with me. I tell him I’m not ready for her to go, and he tells me she’s not the one who has been sustaining me, so I need to let her go. He has a divine plan for her, and a divine plan for me. Our plans crossed for awhile, and maybe they’ll cross again in the future, but for now he’s asking both of us to trust him. I’m trying so hard to trust him.
I’ve been on both sides of this scenario, but the older I get the more it seems like I’m the one being “left.” Yet I hear the Spirit’s encouraging whispers of affirmation: “Just keep serving. Don’t quit. Don’t ever quit! Watch for Me.” The Lord calls some to stay and some to leave. He calls some to keep serving where they are and some to start serving in a new place. Neither is better than the other, and both are right. And as rambled as my thoughts seem, my foundation is in Christ and can never be moved. I am still who he says I am, and the same is true for my friend.
You may share my sadness. A friend or loved one may be transitioning into a new calling and you just aren’t handling it well. Nonetheless, friend, that’s one of the most amazing things about our relationships in Christ – even in our sorrows, we can lift one another up. Even in our earthly loss, we can praise a living God. Even in our questioning, Christ loves us and draws us closer to him. We need to keep going to him and never stop. God can heal our broken hearts if we continue to choose obedience over bitterness. I’m in the trenches with you, and it’s hard, and I want to give up. You probably want to give up too, but we know we can’t even if we tried because he has been carrying us all along. He has been carrying us all along. Praise and thankfulness to our Lord and Father whose ways are not our ways and who will be coming back for us soon!
And my friend will be there. I will run to my Savior and linger in his embrace on that day. Soon after I will look to my friend who will surely be there close, grab her hands, jump up and down in excitement and exclaim, “We’re here!” That time will be a true reunion because the common bond in Christ will be fulfilled by being in His presence. And no distance can take that future fellowship away. So, while we cry over the loss of earthly fellowship, we look forward with anticipation to eternal fellowship. Let’s look forward and not behind. The Lord is not finished with us, and there is more to be done here and more to be done now.
And there is God’s peace. I pray you find yours as well.

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