This is not the end.
It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Music can bring back powerful memories.
A Time For Everything
For everything that happens in life-there is a season…
A time to be born, a time to die;
a time to plant, a time to collect the harvest;
A time to kill, a time to heal;
a time to tear down, a time to build up;
A time to cry, a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, a time to dance;
A time to scatter stones, a time to pile them up;
a time for a warm embrace, a time for keeping your distance;
A time to search, a time to give up as lost;
a time to keep, a time to throw out;
A time to tear apart, a time to bind together;
a time to be quiet, a time to speak up;
A time to love, a time to hate;
a time to go to war, a time to make peace.
As you read over the 14 positive and negatives in the list above try to think of a time each of these seasons has been or will be true in your life.
A time for everything…
As we live through different seasons of life, we sometimes face unexpected change.
Accidents, natural disasters, job transfers, a spouse or a friend who has betrayed us. The unexpected hits the hardest. Most of us have lived long enough to see difficult times turn around for the better, times where we have overcome great difficulty and adversity.
We have also seen times when things went from good to bad, bad to worse. And there are no answers to why?
In those times it is natural to wonder why God lets certain things happen. In this portion of scripture Solomon lets us know that in this life there are things we may never fully understand.
Solomons perspective is that all changes are arranged by God, that there is a season, a purpose for everything. We find this is in the list above that balances the positive and negative life experiences*
In verse 11 we read that “God has also placed in our minds a sense of eternity”
If there is to be any understanding of God’s purposes I believe we have to first understand we were created for something more. That this life is not all there is. And if that is true and I believe it is, we are in a preparation period, a time of transition and God is doing something eternal that will last far beyond this life..
I am reminded of the words of C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity**
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
The contrast between what God is building and doing compared to what we imagine it should be could not be starker. What He is doing is on a far greater scale than we could ever imagine. If we could we would settle for the comfort of the expected or as the song goes for “our little shack” in the corner of heaven. But God has far greater and grander plans for our “house”. And possibly that is the reason God brings about the seasons of change. So we do not get comfortable in any season.
In the seasons of good times, of prosperity when everything is going our way we tend to forget the eternal in favor of the temporal.
He reminds us everything in this life is temporary..
“Listen carefully, those of you who make your plans and say, “We are traveling to this city in the next few days. We’ll stay there for one year while our business explodes and revenue is up.” The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another”
When things are going from bad to worse and then even worse and we feel all is lost He reminds us of eternity, that this is not all there is
You see, the short-lived pains of this life are creating for us an eternal glory that does not compare to anything we know here. 18 So we do not set our sights on the things we can see with our eyes. All of that is fleeting; it will eventually fade away. Instead, we focus on the things we cannot see, which live on and on. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18
To make any sense of it as we go through the seasons and change of life (that sometimes make no sense at all) there are things we need to consider.
In our earthly existence:
Human lives and earthly accomplishments are fleeting
Nothing tangible is permanent
No work no matter how great it is lasts
It all slips away and vanishes into thin air (you are but a mist)
Compare that to God
Everything God does is substantial
Everything God accomplishes lasts forever
Every word God speaks makes a difference
In verse 11 we read that God places within each person a sense of eternity to know yet not fully understand Him or His works.
This world with all its goodness and beauty is not as good as it gets.
There is more, so much more, and we are made for that reality too.
But not now, not yet…***
* Courtesy of Promise Keepers Mens Study Bible
copyright 1997 Zondervan Corporation
**Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis copyright 2002 C.S. Lewis Pte. Ltd.
***The Voice Bible Copyright 2012 Thomas Nelson Inc.