“There’s a season for everything and a time for every matter under the heavens” (Eccl. 3:1 CEB).
I am drawn to the reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-13. There is something about the incredible awareness of being human that the author brings to the table of our everyday life; that humanity acknowledges before God that there are times that we celebrate as well as times that we struggle. Of course, the selfish side of me would like to play God’s hand and make him take away the trying times in life. My prayers tend to be selfish like, “God take this away from me. Let me know perfect health. Let my family know perfect peace. Take hemophilia off of my children’s back. We have dealt with this bleed for so long. It is time to release my son from his pain.” My prayers are not wrong, they are simply a petition to move forward to times of peace and wholeness. The first thing we want to do when faced with difficult times is to get out of the chaos as quickly as possible. Who wants to feel trapped in a rough situation? Not me.
The passage from Ecclesiastes reminds me that life consists of everything. To deny suffering is to deny joy. We must face whatever it is that life throws our way. That is our human condition. There is no way around it, we must move forward in our victories and our defeats. How we respond to the situations that we face determines our attitude and awareness of the Divine presence in the middle of all of life’s issues. We must put our trust in the God who rejoices with us on the mountain tops and carries us through the difficult times in the valleys. To expect there to be no valleys takes away the joy of the mountain top experiences. Joy – sadness, faith – doubt, happiness – sorrow; they must remain in balance in our everyday lives.
My hope for all of us this year is that we can praise God while we celebrate and cling to God in our times of greatest need. May the endless blessings of God surround you so that while you are in the valleys, you may look up towards the mountains and journey forward to the summits of peace, love, and joy. I pray that you may be comforted by God in whatever season of life in which you find yourselves. I hope that you may be able to say, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the final victory in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Amen.”