There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
2 A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
- Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
This passage contains one of life's most precious lessons: there is a time for everything. When we realize that there is a time for every event, it adds so much to our lives.
1. Knowing this principle helps put our "life situation" into perspective.
I remember when Lise and I had small children. We were tired and thought that the diapers, the fevers, the crying at night, the feeling of being a prisoner would never end.
But other more experienced parents comforted us by reassuring us that this was just a phase we were going through and it would end very soon. What they were saying, in essence, was, "this was the time to give birth." It is a comforting thought to know that birth and death and hurt and healing are all natural parts of life. It does not take away the pain or the fatigue of some situations but it helps get them into perspective and gives hope.
2. Knowing this principle helps us live fuller lives.
You know some people always feel guilty about having fun. They have been taught that pleasure is somehow not okay, or that it is not as good as work or suffering. But in this passage, the Holy Spirit says there is a time to laugh, to dance (celebrate in Jewish culture), embrace, love. For example the Canadiens win 6-5, great excitement!!
How much richer and fuller and enjoyable our lives would be if we understood that we can wholeheartedly indulge in having fun, love and celebration when it is time for such things (and of course when done in a decent way).
3. Knowing this principle brings peace of mind.
There is nothing new under the sun. God is aware of every situation. He rejoices when we rejoice, He provides soothing comfort when we are shut out, hurt or bewildered. He is beyond time and so is the master of the "times" or experiences we are going through.
Among the many things that our baptism signifies, is the idea that when we are buried in the water with Jesus, we also bury the right to control our lives and give that right over to Jesus. There is great peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that someone more capable than us is directing our lives.
When we realize that God is over every time that we experience, whether it be good or bad, there comes a great peace of mind.
I do not know what "time" you are experiencing in your life at the moment but whatever it is, remember:
- No matter what, it is only for a time; it will be replaced by something else sooner or later.
- Let us rejoice and be happy when it is time for it. It is not a sin to drink a full cup of happiness. There will be sad times soon enough. We might as well enjoy the good times when they are here.
- Let God take control of the times in your life. Being in the driver's seat never brings you peace of mind, only worry about whether or not you will be able to negotiate the next curve.
God knows the past/present/future. He can do a better job of directing our lives than we can.