How would you describe the season you are currently experiencing?
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a contemplative poem about the seasons of life. Rather than letting the seasons pass meaninglessly and letting life become “vanity,” the biblical writer encourages worshipers to interpret the seasons and maximize the opportunities within each one of them.
In my own time of reflection, I think about the seasons many of us are experiencing right now. Like in ancient times, it is still true that, “There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Actually life in the 21st century may have more numerous seasons than in previous eras, and the changing of the seasons may occur more abruptly, even concurrently. Perhaps if the poem were being written today, some of the seasons included would remarkably resemble the season you are in right now:
A time to celebrate and a time to lament,
A time to be single and a time to be married,
A time to keep your job and a time to transition to another vocation,
A time to pray for healing and a time for comfort care,
A time of feasting and a time of famine,
A time to be gentle and a time to be firm,
A time of grief and a time of joy,
A time to be independent and a time to seek assistance.
A time to spend and a time to save.
A time to think things through on your own and a time to seek the counsel of others,
A time to plan and a time to implement,
A time to worship and a time to serve,
A time to be patient and a time to be aggressive,
A time to wait and a time to wait no longer,
A time to think and a time to feel,
A time to consider options and a time to make a decision.
A time to lead and a time to be led.
– A personal reflection on Ecclesiastes 3
I can hardly read Ecclesiastes 3 without thinking about Romans 8:28, which reminds us that, “In all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Remember that no one season lasts forever, including seasons of discouragement, grief and lamentation. Live life fully and faithfully in the season you are experiencing now, refusing to let the emotions of a change in seasons thwart your spiritual vitality.
Knowing that God is with us through all the seasons of life helps us to confront our challenges and seize our opportunities with courage and confidence.
Barry Howard serves as senior minister at First Baptist Church of Pensacola, Fla.
Pastor at the Wieuca Road Baptist Church in Atlanta. He also serves as a leadership coach and columnist for the Center for Healthy Churches. He and his wife, Amanda, live in Brookhaven, Georgia.