One of the most popular verses in Ecclesiastes is in chapter 3, where it talks about the different seasons in life and a time for every matter under heaven.
The first thing that caught my attention was two key points:
- Has a season
The entire chapter reveals a time to be born, to die; to plant, and to pluck up what is planted; to kill, and to heal; to break down, and to build up…
This list is really not just things that randomly happen, but what God sovereignly allows to happen in our lives.
This fact is hard for many of us. I, too, struggle with this greatly.
Don’t ask me why — I still have no idea why I keep doing this — but sometimes, I’d watch food videos on YouTube before sleeping.
And I recently saw a How to Bake Super Soft Moist Butter Cake Easy video and found myself saying: “I wish she added more sugar.”
Let me go back to Ecclesiastes for my point: Chapter 3 serves as a list of ingredients that God mixes together to accomplish His purposes in your life, in your allotted time, in your set boundary. He mixes the flour with the sugar, or the eggs with cheese.
Now, most of the time, we don’t like this — not having control.
To be honest, I’d rather treat this list like a buffet. I’ll take some laughter, a little bit of dancing, a bit of building.
If I could choose what I wanted… I’d take none of the things that hurt, nothing that stretches me, and certainly none of the refining fire. I’d take only the comfortable and the happy.
A time to die. No thank you.
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted. Yes, I’ll take this! I’d rather things be repaired than deconstructed.
A time to keep silent. Are you kidding me?
A time to speak. Yes sir, every day!
A time to love and a time to hate. You know what? I prefer love.
But if you realise it, we don’t really get to choose our ingredients. And with hindsight, I’m grateful to the Lord for this.
Because if we’re honest with ourselves, we don’t have the right vantage point.
If I could choose what I wanted, I’d take all the good things and none of the bad.
None of the things that hurt, nothing that stretches me, and certainly none of the refining fire. I’d take only the comfortable and the happy.
But the fact is, God loves us too much to let that happen. He loves us too much to let us be sovereign over our own lives.
I’ve never met anyone who likes to eat flour, but I know a lot of people who love cake. But you can’t eat the cake without the flour.
Just like there’s a time and a season for everything, there’s also a PURPOSE.
We’re going to get the reason for joy and sorrow, the whole list in one sentence: He has made everything beautiful in its time.
It’s God’s plan with God’s vision, and His ability to see, to make everything beautiful in its time.
Which means every little step, every little sorrow, every little tear, every hurt, every joy — all go into the bowl to bring about what’s beautiful in the end.
Though we can’t choose the ingredients, we can trust that He’s a good baker…
Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Eternity has been placed into our hearts to remind us that we’re a part of something larger than ourselves.
It’s like this internal compass that helps us find our true north. And it was put into our hearts by our Maker.
We may not see the whole picture now, living in the present. Grasping what God is doing in the current moment is like looking through a glass, darkly (1 Corinthians 13:12).
We cannot fully see nor comprehend the shape of what He’s making and the tools He’s using to bring all things to the beautiful end of redemption.
We cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end (Ecclesiastes 3:11), but when eternity is placed in our hearts, we can trust in the One who’s not just Sovereign, but is altogether good.
Though we can’t choose the ingredients, we can trust that He’s a good baker — and the end will be glorious!
This article was first published on Cornerstone Community Church’s website and has been republished with permission.
- What season of your life are you currently in?
- Can you see how God is shaping and moulding you during this time of your life?
- Are you finding it hard to trust God’s plan and purpose? How can you keep walking with your Maker despite that?