Goodbye to Goodbyes (Tales that Tell the Truth #7)

Goodbye to Goodbyes Tales that Tell the Truth
Goodbye to Goodbyes: A True Story About Jesus, Lazarus, and an Empty Tomb by Lauren Chandler, Catalina Echeverri
Also by this author: Jesus and the Very Big Surprise: A True Story about Jesus, His Return, and How to Be Ready, Jesus and the Lions' Den: A True Story about How Daniel Points Us to Jesus, The Friend Who Forgives: A True Story About How Peter Failed and Jesus Forgave, God's Very Good Idea: A True Story of God's Delightfully Different Family, The Garden, the Curtain and the Cross, The Storm That Stopped, The One O'Clock Miracle, The Christmas Promise, The Prisoners, the Earthquake, and the Midnight Song
Series: Tales that Tell the Truth #7
Published by The Good Book Company on February 1, 2019
Genres: Children's, Bible Stories
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five-stars

Jesus knew how scary it is when someone gets really sick. He knew how sad it is when someone dies. Jesus cried when his friend, Lazarus, died. But he did something at his friend’s tomb that changed everything. He showed that he came to give his friends life in the land that lies after our dying.

In this vivid, moving and exciting retelling of the story of Lazarus, Lauren Chandler helps children understand how Jesus makes all the difference to death. Children will see that because Jesus rose from death, he has power over it and all who believe in him will also rise, just as Lazarus did.

The author, Lauren Chandler, used the story of Lazarus to help her own children come to terms with her husband’s (Matt Chandler) brain tumor. Whether children are coming to terms with the illness or death of a loved one, or simply fearful of when that day might come, this book reassures them with the amazing truth that Jesus came to to say goodbye to goodbyes—forever.

Children’s books are everywhere.

Children’s retellings of Bible stories are everywhere.

And the quality…well…in my experience, the quality ranges.

How are we supposed to sort through it all?

Early on, with my kids, I developed some guidelines for choosing a children’s Bible storybook.

  1. Is the story biblically accurate?
  2. Is the story relationally applicable?
  3. Does the story’s language/vocabulary fit the intended audience?
  4. Are the illustrations diverse?

And whenever somebody asks me for a practical example of those four guidelines, I inevitably point them toward Tales that Tell the Truth. There are currently ten books in the series (the latest upcoming June 2020) along with a variety of supplemental materials like coloring books that accompany each volume. The series has a variety of authors with illustrator Catalina Echeverri providing a cohesive stylistic design.

Goodbye to Goodbyes | Tales that Tell the Truth

Goodbye to Goodbyes leads readers on a journey through the story of Jesus, Lazarus, and an empty tomb. The first few panels set the context, showing Mary, Martha, and Lazarus as close friends of Jesus. We’re taken through the beginning of Lazarus’s illness, along with the realization that their friend Jesus, the miracle-worker, could help.

We are told of all the miracles Jesus had done. The blind see. The deaf hear. The lame walk. Surely he could heal Lazarus. So they send him a message. Lord Jesus, Our brother Lazarus, the friend that you love, is sick. Come quickly!

But Jesus does not come quickly. The next few panels show what he did not do. If you don’t know the story, and little ones might not, it’s confusing and surprising. Even if you do know the story, if you really think about it, it seems odd. Jesus waits until Lazarus has died. He had healed the sick, but he had never raised the dead.

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The panel that illustrates Martha running to Jesus is just heart-wrenching. Echeverri captures the pain of Martha—and the pain of Jesus. The theology of Martha’s answer is a little simplified. Chandler captures the meaning of her words without having to navigate the nuances of Jewish eschatology. It shows a delicate and sure balance of communicating Scripture accurately and communicating Scripture understandably.

Lazarus is raised to life and Chandler pivots from that Resurrection to the future resurrection of all believers. We all have to say goodbye sometimes…sometimes, because they die, we have to say goodbye. It feels like a forever goodbye. Jesus knows it is sad to say goodbye. So Jesus came to end goodbyes.

This theology of death is precisely what young ones need. As a pastor, I’ve seen parents struggle with how to talk to their little one about the death of a grandparent or older relative or, more than once, a young friend. Goodbye to Goodbyes both validates the sadness but affirms that there will be reunion. It doesn’t tell us to not mourn, but to mourn as those who have hope. It teaches us that sadness and joy can coexist. This is a masterful work and a must-read.

five-stars