starting a new year

It helps to have perspective and keep your surroundings in focus as you go on a journey. I’ve travelled back and forth from NY, VA, PA, and WV to SD, made it to AZ and FL once, and even went overseas to China a few times; it helps to “gain your bearings” and know where you’re from, where you’re at, and where you’re headed.

We as Christians are traveling on the journey of life, as pilgrims. This world is not our home, and we are bound for the promised land. It helps to have some spiritual markers for us, to keep our bearings and give us direction. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is one of those markers, to keep us on track, to have perspective and understanding as we make our way. These verses are a spiritual GPS that provide sense and security and help us to see how everything fits together.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

  • a time to be born, and a time to die;
  • a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
  • a time to kill, and a time to heal;
  • a time to break 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 cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
  • a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  • a time to seek, and a time to lose;
  • a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
  • a time to tear, and a time to sew;
  • a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
  • a time to love, and a time to hate;
  • a time for war, and a time for peace.

How do these verses help us? God is in control. He is Lord over time and appoints a time (a season) for all matters we will ever face. Several features stand out from this catalog of events: we know there is purpose for all that happens, and nothing is or should be a surprise. God is in charge over life and death issues, emotional aspects and personal and public matters. His command is all encompassing; no events are missing from this list.

What have you faced in the past? What are you living through today? What will you face tomorrow and the coming new year? Something in this poem, I guarantee. I can also guarantee that God is in charge, and seasons will come and go. This is life, this is the journey we’re on. The journey makes more sense and we have perspective because God is in it and over it. He is with you in all these times. This is what the writer of Ecclesiastes concludes: “All of life is from the hand of God, for apart from Him who can eat or have enjoyment? Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.”