There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
‘Come now and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool.Isaiah 1:18
Winter. Spring. Summer. Fall. We live for these, don’t we all? Set our hopes. Make our plans. Look forward or back with equal amounts excitement, sadness, regret, longing, and trepidation. Wonder how we’ll ever do or get through or why we ever did or chose to?!
These seasons are rhythmic, too. And expected. They come and go each year with no need of warning and usually a bit of, “Yay! Finally!!” Until they go on too long and we’re more like, “Move along, now, would you. I’m over you!” Basically like seasons in Florida, where we have two: Summer (March-December = I’m over you!) And, Fall (January-February = Yay! Finally!!)
And these seasons don’t just happen by accident, either. I’m not smart enough to give the full reason, but figure you took the same classes I did growing up so likely don’t need to explain anyway. There’s a purpose in them each, though, as we know. A goal, if you will. A start and an end and a reason for their existence. Which is the bigger point.
Our life is also divided into seasons in a way. Some way better and others way, way worse. Some hard, some easy, and some simply blah. Some we get blinded by, believing they’re good and wanted until we realize they’re far from either. Usually after it’s too late.
Often there’s no controlling a one of them, though. Much as we try. They begin, and usually end, without much warning. Sometimes we’re ready for them to end well before they ever began and others, well, we despair of their ending and long for more.
Everything Under the Sun
The smartest man who ever lived, King Solomon, in his book, Ecclesiastes, explained these seasons in terms of time. “There’s a time,” he says, “for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…”
Every single activity. Every single experience and emotion. Every single everything. Not just birth and death, but also basic things like speaking and staying silent, planting and uprooting, embracing and refraining. Then he goes on to share of harder things that we’d rather imagine there’s never a time – much less a season – for! Things like war, hate, mourning, giving up, tearing down, throwing away, or killing.
We love their counterparts, though, don’t we? Healing, building, laughing and dancing. That one I especially love, actually! But there’s also real keepers like keeping, embracing, mending, peace, and love. Those we’ll all gladly get behind for a lifetime, not simply a season.
The hard ones, though? Not so much. So why, then? Why give these the time of day, let alone set times and seasons?!
Well, this question consumed me once during a season I wouldn’t have ever chosen. A season more suited to an episode of Jerry Springer than what I’d assumed we’d been building in our family. And this situation had me pretty torn up. Bound and wound up, actually! Painful didn’t begin to describe it.
Then, a truly eye opening moment happened for me after praying over it and our gracious Lord led me to that passage above from Solomon. For some reason his words just soothed my soul because I finally understood that what we were walking through was simply a season. One with a beginning and an ending. That the good would break through the bad. Eventually. Because this was the promise. The promise that would eventually become prophecy.
Because there’s a repeated refrain throughout the Bible that tells us we have a hopeful future, full of goodness and mercy and that God is working all things out for our good when we belong to Him. What’s more, His promises are always “yes” and “amen” in Christ, so what good could He ever withhold??
No good thing! That’s right. If we don’t have it, we don’t need it, as one of my favorite pastors has posited! I dare you to try and really, truly believe (then live out) that one… with all the bad or don’t yet have or may never gets that exist in this life!
Unwanted, Yet Permitted
Speaking of, why permit all the bad then? I’m curious, too, you know. Free will and sin’s stain and a real enemy of God and of our very own souls, as well, all come to mind. However, God is so much bigger than all that, especially bigger than our enemy, plus way better to look at! As are His promises. And since He’s sovereign over all, everything gets filtered through His Hands and toward His greater purpose…
Meaning He allows all this hard through his permissable will. Not to be confused with His Perfect Will.
So, what about you? What season would you have never chosen and prayed would end the second it started, yet it stayed for what felt like ever? Well, this particular brand of bad – believe it or not – is the very thing that is for our very good. Because it’s the very thing that God uses to draw us close and grow us up to become like Jesus. It’s the very thing, much as we push against it in the moment, that pushes us toward Him and more of His love. The very thing that causes us to cling tightly and daily to the Only One Who matters:
God’s ultimate goal, you know. God’s best gift and original intent. He is why. This is the reason for every hard thing and each and every even harder season.
Oh, wish that it were not so! I wish we could simply see God’s best for us and live it out without fight and doubt. See Jesus, then live and love like Him. Embrace His way the easy way! Sadly, we can all hope and wish all life long, however humans are simply wired to require hard, rough, and tough circumstances to become all we were meant to become. Left to our own, we’d only grow bigger and more in love with ourselves!
Goodness, but it’s taking me half a lifetime to even begin to get this one.
And as I write this currently, from a better season thankfully, I still ponder the hard ones prior and the inevitable ones to come, and the emotions begin to build in lament and anticipation. But, then I ponder the cruel cross. The time that perfect, spotless lamb of God suffered separation from His Father, followed by a criminal’s death, without excuse or words of defense because we were the guilty party He was dying for! Speaking and acting out only what was necessary to glorify His Father for the simple reason of bringing us into their world and attaining oneness with them.
I ponder how what felt like the worst outcome possible for those living along side Him, became the best thing ever for them and those to come (read: US!).
I ponder how so many things that looked hard and unwanted in my own life became the very things that drew me close to The BEST thing (read: Jesus). And then I ponder how the hardest things I still can’t make sense of today, in my own life and in lives of others, still have the potential to be made better through healing or gifting or giving or growing. And then I ponder how, if any of that’s yet to happen, we still have a promise that all things that exist will eventually glorify God in the end, growing His Kingdom and those He loves, whether we see it this side of heaven or beyond. Because, that’s God’s promise to us.
And His promises to us always becomes prophecy.
Mark His Words‼️ Here, I’ll get you started: Romans 5:3-5, 8:28, 12:2; James 1:2-4; 2 Peter 1:3-9; Jeremiah 29:11-14; 2 Corinthians 1: 3-7, 20-22, 12:7-10; Mark 15; John 1, 17-19; Colossians 1; Genesis 50:20; Psalm 23, 84:11.