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. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
God is a God of seasons. God’s story is one of seasons…slowly, orderly, methodically revealing His plan for salvation. A season of the first humans walking with God, a season of rebellion, a season of establishing a covenant, a season of receiving God’s law for right living, a season of slavery, a season of wandering, a season of war, a season of victory, a season of judges, a season of prophets, a season of waiting, a season of God in the flesh on earth, a season of declaring the good news, a season of anticipating Jesus’s return and the final victory over death. Through all of the seasons, the story is the same…we cannot save ourselves from ourselves, but in God’s justice, mercy, and grace, His plan all along is in His Son who redeems and restores us. Every season reveals layers of this truth.
Years cycle through seasons, and in our individual lives, we also go through seasons…some filled with laughter and some with tears. We have seasons of growing, maturing, listening, hurting, learning, leading, sowing, reaping, teaching, nurturing, healing, waiting...
This short time on earth is fluid. It isn’t about finally “getting there;” finally getting through the hard stuff and coasting in the easy. It is about growing more and more like Jesus. And the various seasons in our lives are part of the process. If you are in a difficult season, know that it isn’t the end. A new and better season is coming.
Questions: How would you describe your current season? How might it be part of God’s bigger plan for you? Spend time in prayer embracing your season and all God has for it. Google Seasons by Hillsong to listen to in your quiet time.
Vanity of vanities! All is vanity. Ecclesiastes 1:2
Ecclesiastes in our Bible is also thought to be written largely by Solomon. It is a backward-looking reflection on a long life. Its world-weary tone recaps little benefit from pleasure, riches, intellect, accumulation of people/things, or diligent work in themselves. It is a view of life from a purely human perspective, where everything seems futile and meaningless.
Purpose and the meaning of life are things that have been searched for from the early human experience. We all get to a point where we wonder, “Is this all there is?” We strive and work and pursue knowledge, pleasure, careers, possessions, people…but while there are moments of temporary enjoyment, they never fully satisfy. We are left empty and searching for the next thing to fill that void.
Ecclesiastes starts off with words like, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) and “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Statements on the monotony and dissatisfaction found in the world’s rat race that falls short of any lasting fulfillment.
Through experimenting with all the world has to offer and coming up empty, Solomon comes full circle, acknowledging everything is from God and for God.
Ecclesiastes closes with this, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. 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.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).
God gives good gifts to His people for our enjoyment. He has prepared good works for us to pursue in this lifetime, but ultimate fulfillment is in Him. Life apart from God will never fully satisfy.
Questions: Where do you go to find purpose and meaning? Are they satisfying or futile and meaningless?