Ecclesiastes 3 is a very familiar chapter in the Bible. For those of us who study the Word we understand the wisdom found in this chapter. Solomon writes a beautiful poem consisting of 14 pairs of opposites. These opposites share Solomon’s reflections on a person’s entire life. These opposite events also point out to us that God has a sovereign plan. A second reason this chapter is familiar to many is because in 1965 the Byrds released a song entitled “Turn Turn Turn” which contained much of this chapter in the lyrics.
My heart has been heavy for a couple of weeks now. Tragedy has struck my hometown, Purvis, MS, with the deaths of 4 young people. Three of these young people I have had a relationship with in the past. From a distance I have prayed for people I care for who are dealing with broken hearts and tragedy. Solomon’s words in chapter 3 begin by telling us that in a person’s life there is a season for everything. Solomon lists 28 seasons in a person’s life in these 14 pairs of opposites. For example, verse 8 says there is a time to love and a time to hate. Never doubt there are times when it is appropriate for a believer to hate. In these verses Solomon shares that in our life we will have seasons that are enjoyable and some that are difficult. In verse 11 Solomon says that He (God) has made all things beautiful in His time. I will be candid and transparent, I don’t always like some of these seasons that are difficult to experience. In time God will make all things beautiful but for a while some things are ugly. I want to discuss a couple of those difficult seasons for some people who right now are heartbroken. I trust God’s Word will help.
1. There is a time to be born and a time to die according to verse 2.
A mother giving birth to a child is one of the happiest occasions in any family. Gifts are received from well wishers and given out by the family to share the joy of a newborn baby. We don’t often like to think about it but the moment a baby is born, which is the first season in this life, he begins the process of dying, which is the last season in this life. That process of dying sometimes takes 85 years, sometimes 50 years, sometimes 25 years, sometimes 17 years and sometimes even a few minutes or hours. I have an older sister who lived minutes after being born and then she died. We struggle for answers when the numbers on each side of the dash on a grave marker are too close together. 1995 – 2014 just doesn’t seem right as you stand over a grave or read an obituary. To us from Purvis, in the month of September, 2014 it seems that too many young people from one small community entered into their final season.
Some people choose when they are going to die but for most that is left with God. It sounds so trite to say during these times that we have to trust God —– but we have to trust God. Over 900 years before Jesus was born in Bethlehem God told us in Ecclesiastes 3 there is a season to be born and a season to die. We have to trust Him that even all this ugliness we are experiencing right now will one day be made beautiful. I have to remind everyone that we must prepare our hearts for tragedy before tragedy comes by having close fellowship with Jesus.
There is a season to be born and a season to die. A wise person will learn to cherish all the time we have with others between these two seasons.
2. There is a time to weep and a time to laugh according to verse 4.
I love to make people laugh. Hearing people laugh gives me great joy. Making people laugh is one of the greatest joys in my life. Most everyone loves to laugh and hear people laugh, especially our families. There is a strange phenomenon described in the Bible; God is blessed by the tears of His children. Psalm 51:17 says a broken and contrite heart God will not despise. I challenge everyone to read Psalm 56:8 which in the KJV describes our tears being kept in God’s bottle and in His book. God has a record of our tears. One day all the things that make us cry will cease to exist and God will wipe all our tears away. I picture, in my mind, God saying to every one of His children, “I am pouring all your tears out and you will put no more in this bottle or record book.” Tears demonstrate we are dependent and vulnerable. God’s children know to go to Him with our brokenness. This honors God. The season of weeping honors God but is not fun for us. It’s hard.
Here is what we must remember, there will be another time for laughter. So many are heartbroken today and they don’t think they will ever laugh again. Their world has been turned upside down. They feel like screaming pull down the sun and turn off the moon for my world no longer exists. God says this time of weeping is a season but there will be another season, a season of laughter. All you who are heartbroken must let yourself laugh again. Your parents, spouse, children, grandchildren need to see you laugh. Satan will attempt to make you feel guilty for waking up one day and acting somewhat normal. Your loved ones need you to be normal. Satan is a liar; God said there will be a season of laughter. Listen to God and trust one day He will make all things beautiful.