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A Time for Everything

December 1, 2012

I wonder if you’ve ever noticed how life goes through seasons. Not just in terms of weather but in terms of circumstance. Every single one of you who reading this post will have, almost certainly, experienced moments of great happiness as well as moments of desperate sorrow.

I wonder what you’re experiencing right now.

Healy Fran 2Fran Healey, lead singer from the band Travis put it in the following way;

“Life is both a major and a minor key”

I wouldn’t say I was a die hard Travis fan (not anymore anyway) but I actually think that this statement sums it up quite well.

Only a fool would deny that as we walk through life, we will experience the valleys as well as the hill tops.

In Ecclesiastes chapter 3 (in the Old Testament of the Bible) there is a famous passage that details how in life there is a time for everything. This is what the passage says:

3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

bible...olda 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.

Of course every single one of us would rather only have the more pleasant of the above experiences, and in fact many people will try and sell you a gospel that says ‘if you have enough faith you can avoid any unpleasantries’. But the truth is, and certainly what the bible details here, is that there is a time for everything.

This passage can be unpacked a thousand times over (and then some), there is so much good to be gleaned from it. But for the purposes of this post I want to make 3 observations on this theme:

1. None of These Experiences are Permanent

nothing-is-permanent-1024x631Arguably one of the most prominent lessons in this passage is that whilst you may experience a time to plant, you will also experience a time to pluck up what is planted. Neither experience is a permanent fixture, there is a change.

This carries significance for all of us. If we are going through a prosperous season then it’s worth noting that the likelihood is that it won’t last. Equally if you are going through a really difficult time then, again the likelihood is that it won’t last.

If you are in relationship with Jesus you can be even more confident, the bible tells us that death will not have the last word. If you are someone who feels like they are drowning in sorrow, then cling onto Christ – He will carry you through, “The first and last word will always be His!”

2. It’s not a list of just Positives and Negatives

positives and negativesIt’s easy to see this list of seasons as good ‘vs’ bad. But that’s not necessarily the case.

If you’re anything like me, you can assess the comfortable times as good times and the uncomfortable times as bad times. However actually very often the uncomfortable times are meant for our good.

There’s an old saying ‘no pain, no gain’, that is often used in the context of exercising and sports. The basic understanding is that if you want to get somewhere, whether it be to lose weight, gain muscle or run faster then you need to push through the pain barrier. This is so called for a reason… it’s painful, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s part of the road towards victory.

When you first read the passage ‘a time to hate…’ I wonder if you instantly considered this as a bad or wrong experience. It’s not right to hate is it? Didn’t Jesus teach us to love our enemies? Yes He did, but Jesus too was righteously indignant in the right contexts. It’s totally appropriate to hate sin, it’s totally appropriate to hate injustice. These are right experiences to have.

Equally when you read the passage ‘a time to mourn…’ then almost certainly you will have considered that as a bad experience. And you’d be right, but often mourning is the only appropriate response. In fact to not mourn at a time of great loss would be more wrong and more harmful.

3. You’ll Never Walk Alone

footprintsMy third observation is not one that is easily obtained from the text, however the truth is that if you know Jesus then no matter what the season, you’ll never walk alone.

One of the most well known passages in the bible is Psalm 23. In this psalm King David says the following:

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Whether you are weeping or laughing, whether you are walking on the mountain top or through the valley, King Jesus walks with you.

Prosperity Gospel teachers will try and tell you that because of Christ’s victory you can have pretty much anything you want right now, whether that be health, wealth or prosperity. The bible doesn’t teach this, hard times will come as well as the good times, life is both a major and a minor key. 

There is Something that you can be certain of however, a promise given by Christ in the gospels:

“I will never leave you, or forsake you.”

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