“To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven:”
I’m finally doing another multiple part-er because I’m writing about a topic I can’t do justice to in one stretch; and that is timing.
Time itself is the most elusive thing in our lives; we can’t stop or start it; we can’t save it or hold it still; we can’t see it. Because we control it so little, it is the most precious of our commodities and though people say that few of them understand it. I don’t myself. I can’t possibly fit all the time in the world into my head. I find myself time-bound and not by choice, and perhaps the reason we try to ignore it is simply because of that very fact. As Fern’s mother says in Charlotte’s Web, “I don’t like what I can’t understand.”
Nonetheless some understanding of time is necessary, and I don’t mean the physics of it. The beginning quote is from Ecclesiastes 3, and that’s what I’ll be using to launch my discussion of time.
I’d like to note the verses says “…every purpose under heaven.” Not in heaven. According to what I’ve read, there is a succession of events in heaven but no limitation. Eternity is literally time without limit. God is not bound to our time. This is important to know because I don’t want to imply things have to happen by deadlines and rigid schedules to be organized and valuable. That is utterly silly and not a faith based viewpoint at all. No, I mean what I’m going to call seasonal timing.
Ever work a seasonal job position? I have; it lasted not even two full months that I recall. It wasn’t that I was a bad worker or the boss was mean. I simply was no longer needed. Things in our lives that are seasonal are the ones we need for a while, but then the time comes when we no longer need it, and just like a plant, it dies away.
A job, a car, a book, an organization, a hobby, even a church; these are all things that can be temporarily the right thing for us, but then we outgrow them. Not every time. Some jobs are your life’s work, some organizations are your job, and you can find the church you should stay in forever. But if that is the case, you can be sure those things will change with time, otherwise we would get too comfortable. C. S. Lewis explains in more detail in The Screwtape Letters about the parallel of change and consistencies, his own example(s) include that we have four seasons every year, but each season is different. And serves a different purpose I might add. Which will neatly bring me to my next point.
“A time for every purpose…”
Every season has a purpose in teaching us life lessons. Having this blog is a seasonal thing, and I recognize that it teaches me to be a better writer; I can hope my articles will help someone else out in their seasons, but at least I know it is doing one person good. Therefore, it has a purpose. Purpose is one of the most important words in the English language. We can’t do a thing without it. (Try thinking that over for a few minutes.) It can also change the way we thing of our seasons. I have often heard preachers say that the bad times are only for a season, and suffering is but a season. And for awhile, this satisfied me. But naturally I began to wonder why the season had to come in the first place. This subject is far too complicated to cover in one post (or even a whole book) but one way to at least retain sanity through suffering is to see it as serving a purpose. Maybe it makes our character stronger, or it teaches us not to take good things for granted, or it shows us how frail we are and how limited. Turning us back to God. (Some it turns away from God, but that is another story.) Suffering also teaches us not to make the same stupid mistakes over and over again, because honestly some of it is our fault. Suffering gives us more compassion for other people’s problems and pain.
The other half of purpose is, of course, in the good times. Remember even good times have something to show us. We aren’t supposed to drift through them and get lazy. No way! Our brains need to keep learning to stay sharp and stay happy; stupid people usually aren’t happy. (If they are, I dare say they’re not as stupid as they seem.) So if you don’t learn when you’re not in school and don’t work when you’re not at your job, your life probably feels meaningless, like you’re going nowhere, and who really needs you around anyway? No, I’m not reading your diary, this is not-so-common sense folks. Use every season as a tool and a stepping stone into the next.
[Teenagers!: Read the book “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris or visit their website http://www.therebelution.com, for more about this subject.]
Integrate seasons and purpose into your way of thinking and see what a difference it will make, until part two readers–Natasha.