For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
This is one of the most famous verses in scripture. Not because it is often turned to but because the song by the Byrds made it famous and is still played often on classic rock stations de cades after it hit the charts.
It would be easy to dismiss it is pop theology as a result. But there is a crucial insight in this verse and in the chapter that it introduces that is a key to leading a meaningful life. In the flow of things, there is a time for just about everything. That includes the good and the bad, beginnings and endings, planting and harvesting, war and peace. There is a time for everything.
This is part of the variety that we both enjoy and puzzle about as human beings. Life comes at us, sometimes at seemingly breakneck speeds. We are yanked from thing to thing, often experiencing emotion after emotion as a result. One thing happens and we rejoice and it feels like life is good. Something else happens and we are wracked with grief and it feels like we will never be whole again. Some of these things are in our control and we make them happen. Other things simply come along and we feel out of control.
Later in the chapter the author makes his key point. All of these things happen because they are all part of the created order and all the fruits of the things we do as human beings. They are part of life and they are important. As a result they are fleeting things that come and go.
On the other hand, the writer says, I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; (Ecclesiastes 3:14). Remembering that God works within an eternity that is far bigger than our temporal existence puts all of the things in our lives back in perspective. At any moment we may be soaring like an eagle or crawling like a worm. But these are important parts of our lives that are but a moment in the span of eternity.
“For everything, there is a season…” may be true. But trusting in the persistent faithfulness of God is always in season.