April 18, 2014.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die;a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal;a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose;a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
I was doing a devo the other night on the brighter side of Ecclesiastes (or at least what I see as the brighter side) and this passage came up. I think this can both be a very encouraging and discouraging passage.
There really is a time for everything. There’s a time to be happy, and a time to be sad. Comfortable and not. Excited and calm. And that’s ok. Solomon was the wisest man to ever live, his wisdom given from the creator of the universe. This wisdom and knowledge brought him much sorrow, but his insights can bring us comfort.
Have you ever been in a place in life where you didn’t know where you were going to go from there? Solomon says that’s ok. Have you ever been so elated that you didn’t think life could get any better. Solomon says that’s ok. I think we get this distorted picture of a life where we are limited to certain emotions and any thing beyond those are wrong. I don’t think Solomon would agree with this. Now it is true that the joy we should have as Christians should elute into all aspects of our life. But it’s ok to feel both bad and good. To quote a famous passage from Paul:
“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
Most people are familiar with verse 13, but I think we should take a closer look at the verses just before. In all situations, Paul had learned to be content. Do you really think Paul was happy all the time? Do you think he was upset all the time? Sometimes I forget that biblical characters were real people with real emotions. That’s nice to think about, because we know that there were those who came before us who struggled just like us. We can do it. Even our Lord understands our struggles:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
When you are in down times, just remember three things. It’s ok to feel sad, you won’t be there forever. You have a family who is here to help you, we have been there as well and will be there again. And finally, our Lord is wholly able and willing to sympathize with us as we struggle through this life. And that is a wonderful thing to remember.
Suggested Daily Reading: Ecclesiastes 3, Philippians 3-4, Hebrews 4.
Let us all strive to help one another in our walk with Christ.