Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)
Huldra Forsvant (Theodor Kittelsen)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Book Group: Ecclesiastes Ch.3

Read the chapter here.

The chapter opens with the well-known 'There Is A Time For Everything' poem. In some ways it's now so well known that it almost sounds trite and I skim over it. But I think I attribute the wrong meaning to it, or assume it means less that it actually does.

I don't like hard times, and I want them gone as soon as possible. I harbour resentment that the hard time even came my way in the first place, let alone the fact that it's hanging around so long. In this, I am accepting good from God, but not anything else. I know what's best for me, and I know this couldn't possibly be beneficial for me.. so, why did you give me it, God?

A couple of verses after the poem, is this interesting line:

'He has made everything beautiful in its time.'

I wonder if this means that I need to see beauty in the hard times as well as the good, and indeed a beauty in all the apparently negative 'times' in the poem - death, uprooting, killing, weeping, mourning etc.

No one can fathom the amazing plans of God, and the strange, unthinkable, unpredictable ways that He works through history, and through our own lives. I can look back and see countless times God has brought beauty out of times in my life that I deemed terrible. I love Joseph's words to his brothers who tried to kill him-

'You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.'(Gen 50:20)


maso said...

I like this bit (verses 1-8). It reminds me, and reassures me, that God is in control ... has already decided at what times in my life things are going to happen.

And it reminds me that I shouldn't be surprised by the 'ebb and flow' of life.

Sure, I don't necessarily understand why hard times come, or when God has set down for them to end ... but it's comforting to know that they're only coming my way at the rate God knows I can handle.

I wonder if it's also a subtle reminder that we are to fear God (seeing as he's the one ultimately guiding our lives e.g. like in verse 14, later on).

Anyhow, that's my two cents...

Ben McLaughlin said...

Thanks Maso. Yeah, I like the point that you make about 'the rate' we can handle. This reinforces the idea that God doesn't test us to make us falter, but to make us stronger.

It reminds me of how you start a fire. Once you light it, you very gently blow on it. The flame is probably thinking, 'hey, what are you doing, you're going to blow me out', but it's that pressure and testing that actually fans it into a proper, strong fire. It's actually the meanest thing to do to be 'lit', but then not be tested..

Man, that is totally an awesome sermon illustration..

Laetitia :-) said...

I know that the times I've been depressed are the worst for my short-term life but also the best for my eternity.

Ben McLaughlin said...

That has been the case for me too, Laetitia. I once went through a time that was the horriblest thing I'd been through, yet now I look back at it as being a real turning point of growth as a Christian.

Ben McLaughlin said...

and yes, horriblest is a word.