Wednesday, July 2, 2014


While growing up in the 60's, there was a song on the radio called, "Turn, turn, turn", by the Byrds.
It stated that there was a season for everything in life. My friends and I loved the song. Then, one of us heard that it was from the Bible. We couldn't believe it. The Byrds were a group of guys who no one knew much about.  I do remember that David Crosby was in the band (YES, the David Crosby of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) and knew he was reported to do alot of drugs. So it was amazing to our young junior high minds that he recorded a song with words from the Bible. Growing up as a Catholic, I never even remember reading the Bible. I knew my parents had one in our home, but even going to Catholic schools for the first ten years of my school career, I never saw a Bible or was told to read it.

Now if you have ever read anything I have written,  you know that I try and read the Bible everyday.
Yesterday, I started reading the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. Chapter 3 in this book is where the song came from. Solomon talks about the meaning or lack of meaning in our lives.
Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that everything in life has a season to it; just like the song told me.

From the New Living Translation:

1 For everything there is a season,
    a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace.

A time to be born and a time to die.
We all know this, but it doesn't deeply affect us until it occurs to someone we love or care about.
This past week, I was able to rejoice in the news of two babies births. The first was my sons friend from college, Dave and his wife Kaitlin welcomed there second daughter Brynnlee.  Three days later my dear friend Gail became grandmother to her first grandson Kellan. Both families were overjoyed with the thrill of these new lives.
What about the other end of the spectrum? We all know that we will die. But what happens when it takes the life of someone we love dearly? Especially when it is way too soon. Like our friends who lost their 4 yr old little girl to a series of infections, or our very closest friends who lost their son this year at the age of 25? We know everyone will die. Just don't let it be someone close to us. We are never ready to lose someone we love. Whether or not we have been prepared-such as when cancer drains the life out of our loved one and we actually might have even prayed asking God to take them, we aren't prepared for the loss. Such the opposite of how well we try and prepare ourselves for the arrival of a baby.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.
In the gardening world, we do alot of prep work getting ready to plant our gardens. We till the soil, we get rid of the weeds, we add new soil, we mulch before we ever plant. Then when we put either the seeds of the baby plant into the dirt and begin to water, we hope that the fruits of our labor will pay off. We watch and water and weed, and we wait. After a few months we have the beginnings of the harvest of our work. Right now, my garden has been planted about five weeks. I can hardly wait to pick fresh corn, tomatoes, green beans, peppers and hopefully some squash.  I planted a number of herbs and am already using them.
But this phrase also applies to other areas of our lives.
In school, the planting is the studying and going to classes and the harvest is when you graduate and begin the next phase of your life.
Or what if you are starting something new? Whether it be designing a new app for our phones, starting to write the book or novel that has been on your mind for years, or perhaps you are starting a new ministry, or a new job. These things also require a fair amount of preparation and diligence before the finished product is ready to be enjoyed. Just like the harvest of our fruits and vegetables. We do work to reap the joys of our labor.

A time to kill and a time to heal.
This phrase baffles me.
Perhaps its about war time. Ususally wars bring casualties, and many of those casualties resulting in a death. Never has there been a war when there hasn't been deaths due to killing.
Its after the war has ended, that the re-building begins.
The healing; the physical, emotional and spiritual restoration begins. It is very much needed.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.
In wars, (which were frequent in the time of Solomon), things are destroyed. Buildings, homes , families. After the last gun shot, the last bomb, the last hidden explosives are detonated, people are ready to begin again, to start fresh. It is the time to do in the present what will impact the future. It is time to make things new. Rebuild, restore and regain what has been lost.
This happens in life also. We might have been maligned, been told we were worthless, had our self worth destroyed by a cutting remark or a disparage attack on our character. WE can only take so much of negativity. And we realize we need to do something to counter the negative and commence the positive.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.  A time to grieve and a time to dance.
Sometimes, these two actually occur together but most often there are times we just need to cry and there are times when the most appropriate thing to do is bust up with uncontrollable laughter.
Have you ever been to a memorial service when you both laughed and cried? During grief, we desperately need to have times of laughter. We can't possibly handle that ache, deep deep sorrow on a day in and day out basis. The ability to laugh in the intense moments of grief is a sheer gift.
Grieving is a long long process. Psychologists say that it takes two full years to work thru the stages of grief. So when the time comes, and you want to enjoy life again; go do what you love. Whether it be dancing, or hiking, or skiing or creating something. Perhaps you want to write, or try a new hobby. You just want to get going with life again. Do it!

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
Life often calls for times to get rid of things. Whether it be possessions, or bad habits, sometimes we just need to purge our lives from the clutter and the excess. We don't need everything we possess. Just this week, I purged 16 pairs of shoes from my closet. I didn't need them and I had not worn them for quite a while.
On the flip side, there are certain times when we need to accumulate some items. For instance when we get married and are setting up our homes. Or when we await the joy of a new baby, there are definitely items we need in preparing for this child.
Other times, its necessary to gather stones in other areas. Contacts and friends who can help you find a job, or a new home. Definitely we have times when we are in need, and we most always have times when we can give away to those less fortunate.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
When we receive something gladly or accept something willingly, we are embracing it.
In life, it could be a new friendship or romance, it could be a promotion or an opportunity to do something you've always dreamed of. You can embrace your favorite sport team, or the charity of your choice. You can adopt a healthy lifestyle and embrace the changes it gives you. We are blessed by people and are grateful.
But there are times when we need to turn away. We need to walk away from something that is harming us or detrimental to our well being. That might be a toxic relationship. It might be a job that is sucking the life out of us. It might be quitting alcohol or drugs if they have taken over our lives. We need to realize what is harming us and take the steps needed to get healthy again, whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.
What are you looking for?
Is it a new job?
A college major?
A spouse?
Are you seeking purpose for your life?
What are you doing to seek what you are looking for? Are you using your resources to help you find what it is you want? Are you asking God for guidance? Are you willing to be patient?
And when do you quit searching?
That I don't know.
I believe we all come to a time, when we realize that what we are seeking isn't there for us, at least for now. And somehow, we need to find contentment in accepting where we are. Often times like this, we need others to help us see clearly what we can't see ourselves.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.
see above section on a time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
This sentence seems so much along the line of the earlier one.

A time to tear and a time to mend.
I think the time to tear here is referring to Old Testament times when a person contracted leprosy, the priests would examine their clothes. If the disease was found on the clothes, they were burned. But if the clothes did not host the disease, they would be washed and part of it torn off and then given back to the owner who was afflicted with the disease. Otherwise, I have no idea what this sentence means.
But I do have an idea of what a time to mend is. The entire Bible is a story of reconciliation between God and His people (us) and how HE longs to mend the brokenness we have experienced -whether it comes from our separation from Him, or the brokenness that occurs at some point in all our lives.
God yearns to make us whole; to mend us. Will you allow Him to do that for you?

A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
Sometimes we naturally know when to be quiet.
I have learned to come alongside someone who is grieving and just sit. And be still and be quiet. I have learned thru my own experience, that sometimes you just want someone to be present in a physical sense, without saying anything.
There are other times, when we definitely need to speak up.
When a disaster is about to happen that we can see, when someone is in danger- these are the times when we most definitely need to be heard.
There are times when we need to speak truth into another's life. When we can offer advice or perhaps wisdom when they are going thru a rough or perplexing time.
The hard part is often knowing when to speak and when to be quiet.
There have been times when I have said something that I wish I could take back as soon as the words left my mouth. There are other times when I look back, that I wish I had said something.
Sometimes it is very confusing to know which direction to go: to be silent or to speak ones opinion. Oh if only we knew every time which was the correct option!

A time to love and a time to hate.
Most of the time, loving will always be the best choice. Because when we love, we always put others before ourselves. And isn't that what Jesus always did? When we care more about uplifting, helping, encouraging others to show our love and support. Loving others tends to bring out the best in each of us.
But there are times to hate.
When someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol or gambling or something so destructive, that it tears you apart. It is OK to hate the object and not the person.
When horrendous crimes or terror occurs, we need to learn to hate the action and not the person. That is really a tough one for me. When a child is kidnapped or murdered or sold into prostitution or slavery, I am intensely angered. My gut reaction is to hate the person who did it, instead of hating the criminal act. I have to admit, I struggle with this-alot.

A time for war and a time for peace.
Since the beginning of time, there have been wars. There have been killings done because of jealousy and anger. Sometimes war can be good.
The American Civil War is an example. The North fought for the freedom of the Negro Slaves, believing that no man should be a slave to another.  The Civil War was fought because of greed and the South not being (as a whole) respecter of others color.
The war on drugs has been fought globally for decades as so many of us have seen the decay of our society by the addictions of drugs.
But PEACE, oh how we need peace.
Wholeness and healing and the comfort it brings.
War time is always followed by periods of peace so that reconciliation and rebuilding can occur.
Peace is what I believe every single person alive desires.

Solomon was a very wise man. He thought long and hard about life and its meaning.
He knew that there was a time for everything.

1 comment:

  1. Miss, I so needed this today. Love the insight you brought to each verse. It was kinda a vitamin to the achy parts of my soul. Love you treasured friend!