There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven – A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. A time to kill 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 throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing. A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Recently my nephew’s wife Christy shopped for school supplies for her kids. She was surprised to get tears in her eyes when she realized she no longer needed to buy them crayons.
Two other nieces had their oldest boys start High School.
One niece and her daughter, as well as a cousin, are starting college this month.
Some friends in Orlando now have an empty nest – their daughter left for the mission field two weeks ago. My friend commented that she now has some understanding of what HER mother felt when she and her husband left for the mission field many years ago.
The Preacher in Ecclesiastes points out many critical times in life that most of us will experience. As much as we might like to stop the world and get off, life goes on. We can’t stop time.
So, what can we do about it? I think the Preacher alludes to some strategies in this passage:
- Recognize the reality: There is an appointed time for everything. Denial doesn’t help.
- Be open to the need for change. There is a time to uproot, tear down, and throw away. I come from a long line of pack rats, so for me, this is a tough one. And I hate to give up on anything or anyone. At times that can be a virtue, but sometimes not. Often I hang on too long.
- Don’t be afraid of new beginnings. Do you need to search for your options, plant a new business or career, build up yourself, others or something? Listen to God’s call and the advice of friends. Don’t be hasty, but a new start can be fun and exciting. Fear prevents many from using their God-given talents, training, gifts and abilities.
- Acknowledge your emotions and those of others. Weeping can help the healing process. An embrace can comfort. But be sensitive for the right time to speak – a listening ear is usually more productive than unsolicited advice.
- Hate has a place. – Hate the sin, but love the sinner.
- Wage war when you must. Are you called to be a warrior? Many believers defend us through military service. But often, this war is spiritual/social. Do you need to kill a bad habit? Does a loved one need an intervention? Do you see an injustice that needs correction? Tough love is hard, but necessary.
- Laugh and dance. Celebrate the moment. Stomp through a mud puddle. Log roll down a hill with your kids. Take a walk at sunset. I like to season my life with a sense of humor. The nice thing about my 60th birthday was receiving a whole new batch of discounts. The bad thing, well, let’s just say my senior moments have merged.