SAVOR EACH SEASON
Lord, You are the Master of appointments.
Read ECCLESIASTES 3:1–15
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
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.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
15 Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account.[b]
a Ecclesiastes 3:11 Or also placed ignorance in the human heart, so that
b Ecclesiastes 3:15 Or God calls back the past
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
What are the patterns of your life? How is the Great Designer working in you?
In 2015, supporting Hamburg’s candidacy to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, 6,211 people joined to form the largest-ever human image of the Olympic rings. The camera zoomed in on what appeared to be an aimless, disorderly crowd, before switching to an impressive aerial view of ﬁve circles, clearly outlined in brilliant color. It’s difficult to discern a pattern when you’re too close, and it’s impossible when you’re actually in it! But each of those 6,211 people dutifully took their appointed place because they believed in the grand design.
Philosophically, poetically and quite purposefully, the Teacher crafts 14 couplets, beginning with birth and death, which encircle our lives; each couplet encompasses a range of activities—our work, emotions, relationships, possessions, ambitions, speech, etc. Under the sun, these seasons are characterized by apparent arbitrariness, unwelcome unpredictability, and a rude disjointedness. Life becomes purposeful, however, under the wise and watchful providence of God, who orchestrates earthly events to make “everything beautiful in its time” (11a). Although hardships and harsh realities don’t magically disappear, the Great Designer continues working in all things “for the good of those who love him” (Rom. 8:28).
That our inﬁnite God is in control doesn’t mean everything is either comprehensively or clearly explained to ﬁnite beings (11c). In our quest for meaning, accepting the mystery is part of maturity.
When the eternal God created us in his image, he embedded eternity into our hearts (11b), and so we yearn for perfection and permanence that remain elusive here on earth. Dissatisfaction with life under the sun signals that we were created for a greater, higher, and deeper satisfaction.
“God is most gloriﬁed in us when we are most satisﬁed in him” (John Piper). Are you savoring your seasons in a way that deepens your delight in the Lord?
Lord, You have made beautiful what we have messed up; be patient with Your people as we labor through it all.