Most people are familiar with chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes. Even if they don’t know it comes from the Bible, many people would nod in knowing agreement when hearing someone quote any of the familiar “time” expressions. A bunch of us would actually sing parts of this litany to the Blue Oyster Cult’s haunting tune “The Reaper.” This is a passage that has brought me comfort during the harshest seasons of my life. It comes easily to my mind whenever pondering a hard situation at hand. Once again, today, after much discussion in Sunday school around the topic of the undecipherability of God’s timing, plan, and our lack of patience to wait for it to unfold, this passage came to me one more time.
It is so hard to see, to discern, to distinguish the goodness of God’s plan for our life while in the midst of hardship, that if left to our own devices, we soon could be consumed by despair, fear and hopelessness. Our Heavenly Father knows this about us. He knows perfectly well that many of us are lacking in the area of trust and that some of us easily default into a state of panic when confronted with one of those hard seasons we all encounter in life. It is for those moments, when it all appears dark and our perspective is clouded by doubt, that He provides passages such as this. Not only has He provided such wisdom, but He also directs people into our paths who can point them out when we have forgotten them.
I am most grateful to those who bring up Scripture to my attention which helps me change directions, adjust attitude and regain eyesight while immersed in my personal pit of temporary desolation. In turn, I also pray that I could do the same when time comes for me to do so as well.
Today I cling to Ecclesiastes 3: 1-11 – I read it slowly. I savor every word. I recall every situation as I praise Him for delivering me every time, even now.
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
Therefore, let us rejoice in Him in any and every situation. Rejoice! (Philippians 4: 4)