TURN, TURN, TURN
Mighty God, I praise You for the hope that sustains, the grace that binds and for the Savior who reigns.
Read ECCLESIASTES 3:1–22
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“We are to be the billboards of the Gospel in the extraordinary ordinariness of our daily lives” (Albert Wolters).
Chapter breaks—imposed on the text by later translators—are sometimes less than helpful. This is one of those times, because the poetry of chapter 3, verses 1–8 is the answer to the problem posed in chapter 2. Just as Paul’s heart-cry in Romans 7 is magnificently answered in the freedom of Romans 8, so here the Teacher’s “chasing after the wind” (2:26) finds joyous resolution in a life lived in the rhythms of God (3:1–8).
This remarkable poem celebrates the balance and beauty of the created world and the givenness of birth and death, the seasons of life and human emotions. Deep experiences here are valued for their place in our lives, for the richness they add to our journey. Behind the poetry is an implicit statement of faith: it is God who has given us these joys. There is rest to be found in the rhythms of God’s world. We can’t see the whole picture (11), but we can trust God for it (14) and accept each moment (13). The key to satisfaction is trust, and trust can only come from knowing that the world is made and ordered by a God we can rely on. It would be centuries before human scientific endeavor would catch up with the simple wisdom of these words, recognizing that the world could be explored because it was made to be ordered, not chaotic.
Buried in this poetry is one of the most powerful and life-changing sentences in the whole of Scripture: “He has also set eternity in the human heart” (11). We search because God has made us searchers. We are restless because we know we are made for so much more. We reach for the stars because, deep inside, we know who made them.
What time is it for you? Does belief in God’s order free you to enjoy life? Why, or why not?
Open my eyes to Your wonder, O God. Lead me in all Your good paths.