It was a sunny Sabbath day maybe seven years ago, but I remember it as if it were yesterday. We were visiting our support church for the last time as we prepared to close our first missionary project in Romania. That same day, the local pastor was also saying farewell to his church as they were welcoming the new pastor. Busy Sabbath! Well, I always expect a few tears at events like this, but that was a real crying party. The whole church was sobbing and wiping tears, even the little children and the pastor himself.
Given the general atmosphere, I was intrigued by the calm and self-contained look on the face of the pastor’s wife. She was visibly sad, but there was no trace of despair. As I approached her, she warmly hugged me and enlightened me with the explanation. “You know,” she said, “After we left our first church and I almost got depressed, I learned that everything has an ending. That’s how I was prepared for this day ever since we moved here. I never let myself forget that. Nothing lasts forever.”
Her words stayed with me over the years. Sometimes when I was enjoying a job, time with friends, or a choir rehearsal at church, I would hear a small voice in my head saying, “This is not forever.” In a way, this robbed me of many enjoyable moments. It reminded me that, as a pastor’s wife, my life was a never-ending transition, and I should not get attached to anybody or anything. It wasn’t long until I realized that even though this might be true, it was not a healthy approach for me. We want to live life to its fullest, even if it sometimes means to cry, part with people we love, or change homes frequently. We actually enjoy our missionary life and the wonderful people it has brought into our circle.
So, since I still can’t ignore these words whispering in my mind, I have found the perfect use for them. Every time we go through hardship, discouragement or struggle, I keep telling myself, “This is not forever.” It’s true. Everything has an ending, especially sorrow, tears, trauma, discouragement and betrayal. It is God’s promise. We want to share this good news with those who haven’t had a chance to find out that the best is yet to come. Will you help us get to them?