It’s not the first time for us. I came into the office the other day to find a desk where my brother has faithfully worked, now cleared.

Empty desk. Empty chair.

For years we have worked with, watched, and tried to train our brother for the work of ministry. We’ve learned together, laughed together, laboured together in prayer and in the day-to-day tasks of leading a church.

But now he’s gone. Gone to the work to which God has called him.

Looking at the empty desk, I can’t but wonder if we’ve done enough. There are so many things that remain untaught, unsaid. So many things I wish we could have talked about. So many ways I wish I could have been a better example. So many things I wish we could have better prepared him for.

Looking at the empty desk, I’m touched by sadness. This brother and his family have been so faithful, and grown so close to our hearts as individuals, and as a church family. Now they’re moving far away and who knows when we’ll be able to see them again?

But then, by God’s grace, it happens.

Looking at the empty desk, I’m reminded that one empty desk here means one more occupied desk in Mexico City. Our church has an empty chair, for now, but the Church has gained a leader. And then I have joy.

And who knows? Maybe one day, as my brother continues to labour and minister the word and train disciples, maybe they will have some empty desks of their own? And then how will our joy be multiplied!

All to the glory of God, may our Father make it so!