Thursday, May 14, 2015

To Everything There Is A Season

"To everything there is a season
a time for every purpose 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."

King Solomon, son of David, brilliantly contrasts the good and bad experiences of life in the above passage (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). There's a time to grieve, but there is also a time to dance. There is a time to be quiet, but there is also a time to speak. There is a time to scatter stones, but there is also a time to gather stones. There's a time to be born, and ultimately, there's a time to die. It's the big picture of our lives. It's the good times, and it's the bad times. It's simple, but it's perfect. And in the grand scheme of things, it makes us realize one very important truth - we are all alike. 

Life involves change, constant change. Nothing stays the same and one thing always leads to another. These words of Solomon are timeless. They apply to everyone, past, present, and future. His words are just as true today as they were thousands of years ago. They transcend culture, race, and gender. They apply to those who are rich and those who are poor. They describe the basic human condition of every mortal who ever lived and whoever will live.

I find that every time I read this passage, I get a feeling of nostalgia. Nostalgia is both pleasure and sadness that is caused by reflecting on something from the past. And as I read this, I reminisce on things in my life and see that there really is a time and a place for everything. And the older you get, the more you see how the words of King Solomon hold true. No one can dispute them. But how can something so simple be so profound? I suppose because it hits on the basic undeniable experience of life itself.

There is much value in this passage. First of all, I think it brings us hope in bad times. How? Because it makes us realize that during a rough season of life, better times are coming - that the bad times will pass. It makes us understand that bad times are temporary. 

Secondly, I believe it brings appreciation for the good times, that we should enjoy them while they last because they are fleeting. Everything is fragile in life. When we are in a good season of life, we should savor the moment, thanking God for the blessings.

And thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, these words of Solomon should make us acknowledge God's sovereignty regarding the seasons of life. "God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time." (Ecclesiastes 3:11a). God's timing is perfect. He is in control, and He has ordained an "appropriate" time for all things.

To everything there is a season - a time for every purpose under heaven."

That's just the way it is.

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