Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – (NLT)
- For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
This familiar, oft-quoted passage from Ecclesiastes covers the entire scope of a lifetime, from beginning to end. Everything that happens in life is covered at some point by one of the "times" in this list. Life's events are fully encapsulated in these few brief phrases. The essence of all that we are and do is distilled in these contrasting couplets.
I knew that "a time of pandemic" was not likely to found here, so I wondered how this passage of Scripture would apply to this time in history in which we are living today. True enough, the entire globe suffered from the flu pandemic of a hundred years ago. There has been massive economic upheaval and unemployment before. Wars have always wreaked terrible pain and havoc. Natural disasters have totally destroyed everything in their path. Yet, there has never before been a time of total shutdown of normal, everyday activities such as we are experiencing today all over the world.
Note the pattern of contrasts or pairs-in-tandem in this Ecclesiastes passage. For every "bad" time in life, there is a counterbalancing or offsetting "good" time. We can be assured that life is not one long, endless, dark tunnel. Several specific "times" found in this list pertain to our current circumstances. The world is — sadly — finding this to be a time to die and a time to cry and grieve. But there will come a time to heal, build up, and once again laugh, dance, and embrace.
So even in our "time of pandemic" we can find good. Despite the grave pain and hardship experienced by many, we have been brought closer together as we have reached out to one another in mutual kindness and support. Can you count the blessings that have come, despite the uncertainties that we are all experiencing?
Prayer: Dear loving heavenly Father, we know that You see and know all that we are going through today. May we willingly receive whatever You ordain for each day of our lives as we trustingly place ourselves in Your hands. Thank You also for the blessing of kindness that we see in our fellow man. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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