God is Good in Every Season
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:3
The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’ One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity. John F. Kennedy
God is Good in Every Season
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1
Ecclesiastes’ dominant metaphor for doing life is the seasons – recognizing and responding to the seasons of life. According to 3:1 this means EVERYTHING and EVERY PURPOSE. This perspective is a tough but transformative way to embrace this seemingly unembraceable season where crises come in waves that just keep crashing. It challenges our modern, western “I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul” mantra. While I admire William Ernest Henley’s brave struggle with tuberculosis through loss of leg, then life, his poem Invictus was horribly skewed. The season prevailed. He didn’t. We aren’t one of the Avengers, even the unmodified human ones. We can’t change the seasons or alter time. Yes, we know that. But do I?
I’m writing with the pandemic, with racial issues, with highly divisive elections approaching in mind. Big, important stuff. But irony just slapped me. In addition to writing about Ecclesiastes and seasons, I’m pushing down frustration with how many times I’ve had to rearrange my day. I wanted to finish this by lunch, and it is past dinner time. Why can’t things just go the way I planned? EVERYTHING and EVERY PURPOSE? Not there yet – not even close. I can’t even captain today’s calendar.
Ecclesiastes offers a better way for whatever this season is. It calls us to mindfully and repeatedly embrace the seasons of life east of Eden (3:2-8 – go ahead, look it up). It isn’t anti planning. It is embracing the seeming senselessness and madness with the calming assurance that this time is His season, and He has redemptive purpose in mind.
Our Father knows how we long for, cling to, the illusion of control. These are scary times. That’s why Ecclesiastes’ commentary on our control efforts, “all is vanity”, repeats 38 times. A choice is ever before me. Make no mistake, it is a Gospel choice. Can I connect in my pain, frustration and uncertainty with the same Jesus who cried out in the garden for a different season? Will I seek in him the grace to embrace this season? Can I keep before me the resurrection message that he will make all things beautiful in their time (3:11)?
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