Ecclesiates 3

Everything Has Its Time

 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.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 New King James

Yesterday we once more went to a memorial service. This scripture was read and talked about. Actually, I have been thinking of this passage for a while now. The past few months have brought these words alive for me. There is a time and a purpose for all things under heaven. This is something I have to remind myself of often. It is so easy to question and wonder why. We all do it.

We see births and rejoice. The cute little fingers and toes, the rosy cheeks of a baby, the little cries from them. They are a gift and one cannot help but smile when we see a newborn. The older we get, the more we smile, both in admiration and in sympathy for the new parents who are experiencing sleepless nights and feelings of lack of ability and wisdom in having the child.

There is a time to die. This has been a hard one for me. The realization is there, the knowledge that when one is called Home it is a great celebration for those called, but for those of us remaining, it leaves a hole in your heart and being. I used to hear often when I was younger that heaven was a sweeter place. Of course it is, I thought, it’s where God is. But through the past few years my thoughts on that phrase are different. Heaven has become a sweeter place, it is being filled with friends and family and not only will I see Jesus at that time, I will see those who have already made Heaven their home. I know we will all be parted for a bit, and eternity will be spent together, what a wonderful time that will be!

A time to heal and a time to build up. Life can break us down, wear us down, cause discouragement, loneliness, disappointment, estrangement. But through all of this, the Lord can and does heal us. After those areas of our life are put back together, we can and often do begin to build up again. I have experienced both the healing and the building up again. It’s not always an immediate process, but our Lord uses His Word, others words, situations, and dear friends and family to bring restoration and strength to us often when we have decided to be alone as we can no longer place trust in others.

A time to weep and a time to laugh. The past month I have seen both. Tears flowing easily and then an outburst of laughter. Does it change the time of mourning? No, it doesn’t, but it helps. The laughter gives release from the heaviness of weeping and mourning, and then you long for the time that mourning gives way to dancing. Dancing in reverence to the Lord and releasing from the burden and weight that has been enveloping you.

A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing. This has so many layers to this now. We have had many months of not embracing, not drawing near. We think twice upon meeting someone we know. Hug or not to hug? Although, I know this is not the meaning of this passage, but this is what came to my mind now.

A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;  a time to love, and a time to hate. Hate is such a strong and vile emotion, but there are times where we do hate things in this world. Certain things grate against our beliefs, our emotions, our lives, our being and we know that we cannot tolerate things. A time to be silent. Those times when you know that if you were to say anything, it would be the wrong thing to speak, the wrong way to say it, and misunderstood. Sometimes, I think, silence is self-preservation of your personal peace. Silence also does not cause unrest to others. I have found as I have aged that silence has become a dear friend to me as so much of what I say and how I say things gets lost in translation. But, also, as I have aged, I realize that there is a time to speak. So much of my life I have been an agreeable person, a true middle child, peace maker, don’t cause ripples, don’t stir up things, but I am finally learning that things I think can be voiced, and not everyone needs to agree with me.

Above all, though is love. Love needs to be expressed. Love is shown in many ways. It would be wonderful if it was always calm and peaceful and agreeable, but it isn’t. To love someone means you want the very best for them, and sometimes that means pointing out things to them that are hard to hear. Love doesn’t fail though. We have the example of our Lord, He continues to love us when we totally blow it. He welcomes us and holds us when we make major errors and bad judgements. That is how we need to treat others. This is my personal thoughts on this scripture. I am thinking of many things. The preciousness of friends. The heartbreak of life. The many times I was isolated and alone, only to be drawn out by those who love me. The joy when I felt like my broken heart had once more been restored. The hope that eternity will be much more glorious than this life here on earth. The hope I have in my Savior.

We have just returned from our second trip to San Diego. We are once more at home in our quiet retreat, the sun dappled through the leaves on our trees. But our hearts are lonesome for friends we were able to be with. Those we left who are in the midst of mourning and weeping. Our hearts long to embrace them, to weep with them and to laugh with them. And yes, I think of eternity, knowing we will all spend eternity together, dancing, rejoicing and laughing together.

Cathi (DAF)


Published by marycatherinethomas

M. Catherine Thomas is a published writer, speaker and teacher. Mother of two and grandmother..

5 thoughts on “Ecclesiates 3

  1. Excellent. Profound. Cathi, you express things so well. And you are so loveable.

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