Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, ESV, “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 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.”
Be honest can you read this passage without singing it to the tune of the Byrds “Turn! Turn! Turn!”? Maybe you knew the song before you knew it was a passage of Scripture!
In this famous passage, Solomon looks at life ‘under the sun’ and sees that there is a time for everything. We are told in vs. 11 that things are beautiful in their right time. When things are done at the right time, it’s beautiful! Harvesting at the right time (vs. 2) is good and rightbut planting when you should be harvesting is not so beautiful and will oftentimes bring about failure. Keeping something at the right time is beautiful (vs. 6), but keeping something that should be thrown away is not. Perhaps you’ve seen the show “Hoarders”…not so beautiful (maybe they should read Ecclesiastes 3:6!).
After reading these verses, the question that comes to mind is, “Who determines the right time?” Solomon is glad you asked! He answers that question in the next passage. In vs. 11, it says that God is the one who has made everything beautiful in its time. Indeed, God oversees and is in control of all of His creation. We should embrace the beauty of God’s sovereignty over everything! He knows the time that He has appointed for everything under the sun and makes things beautiful in that right time. Even things we don’t look forward to or enjoy (such as death) have a time. There is a time for death (vs.2), and God has appointed it (Heb. 9:27, Job 14:5).
At this time, you may be going through some hard circumstances that you just don’t understand. Perhaps you have asked God, “Why?” but don’t’ feel that you’ve received answers.
What is the proper response when we don’t know or understand? Joy-filled trust is the appropriate God-honoring response to the many varied, challenging situations in our lives. Throughout all of our life, during the good and bad times, we should keep a joy-filled trust in our Lord. We don’t always know why He does what He does. We don’t understand the complete picture, but if we believe He is good and wise, we can trust Him. And not just trust Him but trust him with joy and hope. God alone is great, and we bow before Him in worship and cry out with the Psalmist, “But I trust in you, O Lord…my times are in your hand!” (Psalm 31:14-15).