It was Ecclesiastes 3... The chapter that talks about there being a season for everything. My eyes scanned and my heart listened:
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear 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 throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
And though I know the words and have etched them into my brain, in many ways, they have not reached full depth in my heart. As I read, I began to realize that I have my own little set of rules for my life and this scripture just seems to break them all. I read, "A time to keep and a time to throw away" or "A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing." or "A time to be silent and a time to speak". Inside I feel my heart tug and pipe up with questioning, "Isn't it always a good time to keep? Should I ever throw away? And to shun embracing? That sounds contrary to all I know.... And if it's a good point shouldn't I always speak?"
But there it is. Seasons for everything. There will be time to mend relationships and a time when the Lord knows they must be pulled apart. There will be times that He asks me to speak out, and a time He asks that I be silent. There will be times for me to mourn and then He will make me dance again. There are times when I need to be persistent in searching for something or in holding on tightly and a time when I need to give up what was lost and let go.
I don't think these scriptures are talking about fabric, seeds, or lost pocket change. I think they are beautifully addressing relationships, life, choices, desires, and disappointments. As I read these verses, I see my little rule book pop up saying that death, tearing down, giving up on something lost, or throwing away is never okay. And maybe that's why I resist when these things come into my life... As if something is wrong. I search for the answer to that nagging question, "Why?" and feel like something unnatural is taking place. When in fact, it's quite the contrary.
Pain, distance, loss, being uprooted, and tears are a very natural part of life. And in a way it's comforting. There are seasons for everything and I have to trust the Maker and orchestrate of these seasons. It gives me peace when I see the situations in my life where it's just not all perfect. I realize that laying down a dream in order to embrace a new season is part of life... A time to keep and a time to throw away. I find that walking closely with every single person I love isn't possible, there is the distance that miles put in between us that just hurts... A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted. I see that there are times when I feel like speaking up and speaking out that I just need to be silent... A time to be silent and a time to speak.
And you know what? When I lay down my little rule-book for life I am comforted. It makes me appreciate the hope that walking next my Jesus brings. It takes the fear out of all the "bad stuff" that could happen in life. It makes me trust the arms of a faithful Father who said He'd never leave me. Life's journey is amazing, breathtaking, painful, hard, and so worth it. And it's never what we expected it to be. No, in fact it's so much more.
If I'm honest, I'm not going to say that I don't have a few favorites when it comes to seasons of life and a few I wish I could skip. But if I'm really honest, I'd have to admit that many of the times my heart deepened and grew the most were through the hard times. The times that had it been up to me, I would have skipped. So maybe I should trust the one who gives and takes away and the one who makes the spring and winter. There is a season for everything and a time for every event under heaven. And if I've got a comforter who walks next to me and I'm following a God who uses everything for good, I can throw that rulebook out. Let the winds of the changing season shift... I'm walking next to the strongest Father in the whole world.