Time marches forward and regardless of what some of our favorite science-fiction shows tell us, it only goes forward. This means, subsequently, that we are in a state of constant change even when it feels as if we are in a rut.
Ages change, children grow from infants to toddlers to teens. Stages change, from single to married to single again to grandparents. Relationships change from intimate to distant and from acquaintance to dearest of friends. Seasons change from scorching heat of summer to cool breezes of fall.
In Ecclesiastes we find a thought-provoking passage concerning time. I want to look at that with you today and consider the words carefully. I want us to contemplate that what has always worked in the past may not be the best choices for today. Times have changed and maybe we should follow suit.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet 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 NLT
Did you read it slowly and savor the truths that it offers? Maybe once more? Which words tugged on your heart? Corrected your attitude? Encouraged your efforts?
If we really stop and ponder what is being spoken to us it might just lighten our load and lessen our anxious thoughts and give us courage to continue on. We will only frustrate ourselves if we try to insist that things must stay the same. They will not do so no matter how we protest.
So how do we know when it is time to tear or time to mend? How do we know when it is time to speak up and time to be quiet? How do we know when it is time to build up or time to tear down?
That, my friend, is when we rely heavily upon the strong shoulders of our Lord and listen carefully for His voice. That is when we reach down deep and find the courage to accept that things aren’t going to be exactly like we always expected them to be. That is when we swallow our pride and hold our tongue and resist the urge to defend ourselves. That is when we speak up boldly for the sake of those who have no voice of their own. That is when we realize the time has come to tear down what we’ve tried so hard to rebuild and move on. That is when we decide to quit searching for yesteryear and throw away tainted memories and embrace today and look forward to tomorrow.
What time is it? It’s time to do things differently. It’s time to try a different route. It’s time to follow a different path. It’s time to accept change and move forward.
Recently I’ve faced significant changes in my life and I don’t believe there is a better example of time flying by than when we observe our children growing. There was a time when I was like one of our little momma hens and kept my chicks close by and often under my wings. Time has changed that. Now, some of my children are venturing out, finding their own new paths and growing. If I insist on holding them back I will make us both miserable. If I celebrate their growth and accept the change our relationship can be strengthened.
As a former foster parent, I had the difficult job of helping children face stark change in their lives. Some would resist it and their journey towards healing was delayed. Those who could let go and move forward were able to find their footing and make progress.
Did you know that there is also great beauty in the passing of time? If you’re closing your eyes tight and refusing to see it, you’re missing out on lovely moments of discovery and new possibilities. What time is it? It’s time to open your eyes wide.