Thursday, 13 October 2011

A time for everything

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… He has made everything beautiful in its time– Ecclesiastes 3v1-8,11

In 1965 a group called The Byrds released a 1959 Pete Seeger song called 'Turn, Turn, Turn.' The song was taken verbatim from this section of Ecclesiastes. Because of that it is one of those sections of scripture that virtually everyone is at least familiar with. Because it is so familiar we may be left with an attitude of ‘That’s lovely, but what does it mean?’

Seeger and The Byrds believed that eventually there was going to be a season of peace. In a sense they are right – one day peace will come. It will however not come through the efforts of man.

The world goes through its cycles. The sun rises and sets. We weep and rejoice. We gain and lose. We speak and we keep silent. And so it goes. The world turns and turns and turns. In some ways you can see how some religions talk about the circle of life. Everything has a time. Everything has a season. Then it starts all over again.

But that leaves something out. All of these seasons do come and go, but we make a mistake when we assume that God is not involved. We see this ‘turn, turn, turn’ perspective when we look at life only from our own perspective. If we leave God out the world is doing the endless spinning and nothing makes any real difference.

The point is not found directly in the words used for the song, but a little later – ‘God has made all things beautiful in its time.’ While the cycles go on we can rest assured that God is going sort it all out beautifully in His prefect time. The Byrd’s yearning of a season of peace will come - For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29v11).

God’s time is coming. We don’t know when. No matter how cyclical or routine life seems we keep going. We don’t get weary in doing what is right, because in God’s season we will reap the benefit of waiting for God’s time of peace. 

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