This week brought the seasons of life into full focus. I hit my knees to pray as a dear friend rushed her mom to the hospital. At the same time, I prayed over another dear friend as she practically skipped with joy to the hospital with her daughter, expecting a beautiful new life.
One life might be at an end (even though we pray for complete healing), while another is just beginning (and we pray for perfect health and long life). The back and forth of my prayers brought Ecclesiastes to mind:
“A generation goes and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. Also, the sun rises and the sun sets; and hastening to its place it rises there again.” ~ Ecc. 1:4-5
Early in life, we experience the seasons of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter. Even if you don’t live where the seasons change very much, you learn the seasons and their traits and purposes in kindergarten.
Yet, why is the circle of life so difficult to understand? Why do we struggle against it so?
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us there is an appointed time for everything. A time to give birth, and a time to die. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. An appointed time for everything under the sun.
This truth was brought so sweetly into focus this morning as I prayed over one friend grieving and one friend waiting for new life. How strangely balanced this life is – even as we feel torn apart, tipped over, thrown about – to keep cycles moving in step from one generation to the next.
“What’s the point?” is the question that rings through to me in the book of Ecclesiastes. Why do we go through all that is life on earth?
I struggle with the reasons God allows the painful seasons to happen in this life. Yet, I struggle with the reason new babies smell so amazing!
I struggle to wrap my mind around the reasons for cancer, chemo, pain and suffering. Yet, I struggle to wrap my mind around the beauty of the sunrise this morning.
Through his struggle to understand, Solomon wrote:
“I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from beginning even to the end.” ~ Ecc. 3:10-11
God has set eternity in my heart. Yet, I will not understand what God is doing from the beginning to the end.
One author wrote that the book of Ecclesiastes does not contain the Godly wisdom of some of the other books in the Bible because it is written from such a human prospective.
Perhaps this human perspective is just what we need as the Old Testament comes to an end and the hope of Jesus in the New Testament begins. The struggle of humanity so evident in Ecclesiastes needed the Savior.
From the next verse, I think Solomon wrote of Jesus and how to deal with our inability to fully comprehend the reasons for the seasons of life:
“I know there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor-it is the gift of God.
I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should [revere] Him.”
I don’t have to understand the reasons for such pain and unexplainable joy. I need to rejoice and see this life as a gift from God.
I need to keep my eyes on Heaven, which will remain forever beautiful and perfect.
I need to understand that Jesus restored it all. There is nothing left for me to add or take away from His work. I need to acknowledge that God is in control.
So, as I pray for one life that may be nearing perfection in Heaven and another that is beginning anew, I release my struggle for answers and reasons.
Instead, I will stand in awe of God’s work. During both seasons of joy and pain, I will bow down to His everlasting power and glory. I will continue to pray for His mercy.
Do you want rest from your struggle to find reasons for the seasons of life? Will you join me at the foot of the cross?