Eccles. 3:1-8 (NKJV)
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted; A time to kill, And a time to heal; A time to break 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 cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing; A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away; A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak; A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.
The ancient writer’s wisdom from this passage in Ecclesiasties seems to come to me over and over again as I ponder the seasons of my life. I think for the first time in my life I am really beginning to understand the reality of the seasons of life. “To everything there is a season…”
I recently had the fun of watching the children of our church splash heartily and with abandon in the lake waters where our church was having its annual picnic. All I could muster was a sigh that was resignation to the fact that I was once one of those kids unconcerned that the water temperature was closer to freezing than it was bath water. Now instead of caring more about the fun, I care more about my comfort, I recognize a season has passed for me.
I and my wife have become grandparents for the first time in this past year. It’s a new season for us, one that we especially delight in. As joyous as it is, it is a harbinger of seasons to come. The contrast of our season of life that has bloomed and our granddaughter’s still in the bud is one to ponder.
I look back at all of the “toys” I have once owned and pursued with great energy, campers, snowmobiles, boats, and all the associated gear that went with all of that. All of those particular things are gone now, their season has come and gone. It’s not that I have relagated myself to the rocking chair, (I still have my Harley), but the interest to pursue and maintian those activities have waned.
I am helping my parents as they go through another season of their lives. Their strong, vigorous bodies are being tamed by the passage of time and the frailties that brings. Downsizing is the name of the game, family heirlooms are being passed on to the siblings and topics like “assisted living” are being discussed.
My point in all of this? For me, it is a frequent reminder that nothing is permanent, the things we own, interests, energies, even life itself. We do best to hold things with an open hand and instead of pining for the past or clutching desperately to what is, we should look forward to what is ahead and let the things of past seasons slip away without protest.
As a Christian, I have a hope and a future that is described in the pages of the Bible that gives me the ability to resist the tendency to be fearful of the passing seasons and embrace what is to come.
Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Rev. Stephen Brown is a pastor at the Kenai New Life Assembly of God.