In most ancient letters that we hold in our possession, the standard "good-bye" was erroso meaning "be strong."
That was obviously intended by the writers of those letters to be an encouragement to their recipients. It is also though, a commentary on the world we live in. We need to be encouraged to be strong because this is a dark and scary world. We need strength to navigate our way through its savage twists and turns that it all too often brings our way. So yes, as the ancient writers encouraged, "Be strong!"
That, however, is not really much of an encouragement. At least, not to an honest man or woman who has encountered just how treacherous this world can be.
Why? Because the trials of life teach us that we are not really all that strong.
It is like we are on battery power and the demands of life all too easily burn out our batteries. I believe most of us use the time in between difficulties as a means of providing us with a way to somewhat re-charge our batteries for the next round of difficulty we are going to have to face.
The ancient New Testament letters, however, did away with the word erroso as a standard means of saying goodbye. They chose to use instead the word charis meaning grace. Now that is a glorious and very real word of encouragement. Grace is the offering to us, of the very Person of God. It is the new economy established by Jesus in the New Covenant, that God is no longer distant and unreachable, but actually, lives inside all of us who have placed our faith in Him.
Grace means that at the moment of faith, God will be all that He is, to all that we need. Because of grace, we no longer have to navigate through this dark and desperate world by ourselves and with our own resources. Wherever we go, God goes with us. Whatever we endure, He is right there offering His strength for us to stand victorious in the midst of the dark days that a fallen world can bring to us.
I bid you, His grace!
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