Friday, October 24, 2014

A Time to Lose Control // Ecclesiastes

You know those times when things just keep happening?  Rereading that sentence, I'm realizing that it's really vague and I may have even made a sarcastic comment to myself in my head along the lines of "As opposed to the times when time stands still?"  So, for those of you who have been blessed with an equally sarcastic mind, I'll clarify: You know those times when bad things just keep happening?   When you've heard so much bad news that you almost come to expect every premature death (it was the flusher for Darnell this week . . . RIP) or national crisis or family struggle or stressful situation?   That's been me this week, and for a little while I was kind of handling it like an autonomous, emotionally stable human being.  I mean, I hadn't screamed at any of my friends or family members for an illegitimate reason, I got my homework turned in in a reasonable amount of time, and I was still eating my vegetables and stuff.  I had it under control, treading with my head just high enough to breath, until something was one thing too much and I slipped and went under, snapping at a teammate and skipping my online class (totally not what I'm doing right now) and switching from salad to chocolate.  I know, tragic.  In all seriousness, though, all of those things were indicators that I was in over my head.  I tried, pretty hard, but I couldn't explain what had happened or say the right words when they were needed, and that weighed heavy on my mind until I couldn't bear it on my own anymore. 

The good and the bad of finally being overwhelmed is that that's what it took for me to go running to God.  I opened my Bible and read and read and prayed, asking for the kind of peace that shouldn't be possible in the midst of hard stuff like this, because I know he can do that.   I came across these words, and that's how God decided to put my heart and mind at rest. 

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.

      a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

     a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,

    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 them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    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.

. . . He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end." 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

I've read these words plenty of times, but I had never really thought about their implications until this last time through.  The fact that there is a specific time for tearing down, for giving up, for uprooting, is, as weird as it seems, comforting.  It tells me that, since our world isn't perfect anymore, the things that God never wanted to have happen to us end up being a part of his plan.  It's not the ideal - that perished a long time ago with our human weakness - but it is our reality.  God knows about every heartbreak that we're going to suffer, and although he allows hard things to happen, he's in complete control throughout the entire wild ride.  He uses tragedy to grow us, to teach us, and to make things happen to his glory.  

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

Romans 8:28

The best comfort comes at the end of the passage from Ecclesiastes, which says that "he has made everything beautiful in its time."  I just love that!  It tells us that God has a track record of making our lives beautiful, regardless of how he chooses to make that happen.  He leads the way through the times of laughing until we cry and the times of deep, deep mourning alike, all for our ultimate good and his glory. 


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