There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces. A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, 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)
Every week as part of our homeschool program, I choose a Bible verse to post for my children. Sometimes it is from that week’s Gospel. Other times it is relevant to what may be going on in their lives. Still other times I simply pick a random verse.
This week, I am posting the first line of the above passage. It came to me as I was giving my sons a bit of a lecture on prayer. They are growing older and need to focus more on their prayer lives. I was explaining to them that during the next few years they will be making many important decisions for their lives and to do so without help from God was a recipe for disaster. To get that help, they need to pray. Their response: “But, Mom, we like to play!”
Yes, there is a time for play, but there is also a time for work and responsibility and prayer. The life lessons continue. I know it is not a one-time discussion. Even as adults, this balance of time and purpose can be something we struggle with – what we want to do versus what needs to be done or what God is calling us to do. As I reflected more on this passage, I realized that its message was just as important for me as for my children.
My life the past few months has been turned upside-down. I can’t publicly discuss the circumstances, but I can say that what I thought my future might look like was radically altered. I’ve turned to God in prayer and have had the help of many friends praying for me (I am so very blessed to have their love and support). I am taking life one day at a time.
On one level, I have peace. That is a great consolation. I know I am doing what God wants. I am acting out of love and service. I am doing my utmost to trust in God; that He knows the reason for all of this upheaval even if I do not fully understand. On another level, however, I am still mourning the loss of my dreams and my vision of my future.
Change, even positive change (and in many ways, this change falls under that category), is always difficult for me. This time is no different. I know I will dream new dreams. Perhaps, many years from now, I will even be able to dust off some old ones. I will embrace my new future and learn to love it. But that day is not today. Today, I continue to struggle.
This passage serves as a valuable reminder to me that life has its seasons. “There is an appointed time for everything.” God knows the timing. He knows my purpose in life at this moment, in this season, and in the seasons to come. May I serve Him faithfully and trust in His wisdom and goodness.
Copyright 2011 Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
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