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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

There's a Time for That

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV) 1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

I read these verses one night last week. The next morning one of my church members died unexpectantly. There was no prevailing illness. There was really not much warning. His abdomen ached. He had an inflamed pancreas. He died within a few hours of being admitted into the hospital. His time was up. It made us all remember our mortality.

Somehow I think that the present time will last forever.

I just had a conversation with someone whose children have grown up. I told her that it seems that the time went quickly but I didn't think that when my children were all little. I thought they would be children forever. They are all grown now and I miss seeing them as children more than I wanted them to grow up. The time has passed and I can't turn back the hands of time.

Our church will soon renovate the sanctuary. There are some who do not see any reason we should change things. Many of those  are people who sacrificed to have it built over thirty-two years ago. Some of them still call it the "new" sanctuary. They knew there was a time to build but they are having a hard time seeing that there is a time to tear down.

Some Sundays I lament over the sermon I have just preached. I wish I had said so many other things which I didn't say. I also wish I hadn't said some things that I did. I vow to do a better job when I know that I did the best job I knew how to do in the first place. There are other Sundays that I praise the Lord for a sermon I preached. Neither of these last. I forget there are times to rejoice as well as there are times to regret. Neither one of these times last very long.

I must realize that I am not permanent in the condition I am in and nothing that I know other than the word of God, and other people will last forever. I know that some of the things that I abhor can be as valuable as the things I love. I know that what is happening now will pass. I know I don't have forever to contemplate this.

Thus, I should see this time as temporary. I was born and I will die. I will laugh and I will cry. I will build and I will tear down. I will plant and I will use Round-Up. 

This is comforting. Nothing I am going through will last forever. The only forever I will see is not in this world. The temporal nature of this world makes me long for one in which time means nothing.

Some people think that everything travels in a circle. The things that we have seen will be seen again. But time is a journey. It ends at a place. It continues in a place. No matter how much I long to be there I remember: There's a time for that.

So, I am here now. . . but that will change.

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