The Bible tells us that there is a time for everything under the sun, and then it gives us a few examples of what it means.
A time to be born and a time to die
A time for planting and a time for uprooting
A time to slay and a time to heal
A time to tear 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 scatter stones and a time to gather stones
A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing
A time to seek and a time to count your losses
A time to keep and a time to throw away
A time to tear and a time to sew
A time to keep quiet and a time to talk
A time to love and a time to hate
A time for peace and a time for war.
Like many Christians, I have often read these times as seasons of our lives, as things that are inevitably going to come our way like the rains and the droughts, like the sowing and the harvest. This is the kind of roller coaster that we're on, and these things just happen. And when they happen, we're supposed to understand that this is the kind of creation that we live in - it just comes with seasons like this.
But then, I read some similar-sounding words in Jeremiah recently, and it changed the way that I think about this. Not that the way that I - and so many of us - have been thinking about it is wrong, but that it does not encompass the full truth of the passage that I think God wants us to get from it.
The verse that I read is Jeremiah 1:10:
This day I give you authority over the nations and kingdoms, to root up and to pull down, to wreck and to ruin, to build and to plant."
It's that last little bit that jumped out at me in a new way this time, even though I have read these words dozens of times before. God has given to us authority to build and to plant. And that's the same kind of sound that the words from Ecclesiastes make.
So what does it have me thinking about? It has me thinking about this: that these are not just the seasons of our lives, the things that happen to us with the changing of the winds. These are the things that we create in the world. These are the things we do. These are the winds that we help create in the lives of those around us, for the sake of those we are loving.
And if that's true, then these are things that we aren't just meant to accept, but to be intentional about. And the truth is that too many of us are not intentional about them at all. In fact, most of us... (stay tuned).