To watch them go

In this morning’s Fruit of the Vine, J. Daniel Frost remembers his “hope – bright with excitement about the mission” to which God had called him, a call to pastor the Pelham (Ontario) Friends Church. “It was a bright day as I pulled away from my parents’ home in Delaware and headed north – alone.” In his contemplation of Jesus’ commissioning of the apostles in John 20:21, Frost wonders how it must have felt to send. Because even when we send someone out in obedience to a call, we are also sending them away. “I have thought about what might have been running through my parents’ minds and hearts as they watched me go down the road.... Did [they] feel an element of pain?”

It is good to name the gifts we see in others. But when they pursue their call, it can be hard – even in our hope – to watch them go.

If God calls someone we love, are we willing to let them go? And if God calls someone to serve with us, do we value the pain of those who, in obedience, released them?

Frost remembers how his ’57 Plymouth Fury “carried me safely to my destination and into my future life of ministry. And I have been the richer for it.” He also prompts us to consider “the pain and pride” felt by those who gave their “loved ones to the Lord’s service.”

Today, I’m thankful for people in my life who have been willing to let me go. I’m also thankful for the people and community God has given me – has always provided – no matter where I’ve been.

And I’m thankful for you.

Eric Muhr