Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Time for Everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 --
“3 For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
2 A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
3 A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
5 A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
6 A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
8 A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.”

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Life is Hard. I know it, you know it and God knows it too. There are times when we are on top of the world, when everything is going pleasantly. But then there are times when we are at the bottom of the bucket and nothing is going remotely the way we feel it ought to. We all go through the ups and downs of life. It is how God designed us.

I present four ways to appreciate a bigger perspective:

1. Everything happens for a reason

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We only see the cause and effect for one day, maybe a week, maybe a year. But God sees the cause and effect that happens over our entire life and even beyond our life. We may never understand the reason behind why things happen, but God does everything for a purpose.

Sometimes we do get to see the purpose, at least in part. When I was pregnant with Zoey I was in a car accident. I walked away unscathed (Praise God!) and so did the other gentleman involved. However, my car was totalled. It turned out, a few months later, we needed the insurance money from the car to put a down payment on our very first house. The house that Zoey would be born into and the house that we still have now. God works in amazing ways.

We go through hard times, it is inevitable. However, God uses those hard times to help us in ways we can’t even imagine. Everything happens for a reason because it is all in God’s ultimate design.

2. Opportunities to learn and develop a relationship with God

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It’s no secret that we tend to call upon God more during times of uncertainty or stress. It is often during these times that we learn from God. he shows us through our troubles and uncertainties a little more about ourselves. Quite often we learn that when we rely on God instead of our own strength, we can overcome any obstacle we face.

Philippians 4:13 -- “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.”

By going through a time of tribulation, we can develop a relationship of trust and learn to rely on God. After our trials are over, we can continue in that new level of trust with God that makes our relationship that much stronger, closer and more intimate. Ultimately that is what God seeks from all of his children, an honest, personal relationship.

3. Growth of Self

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It takes life experience to become wise and understanding. There is no way around the fact that even though I feel like I know less, I know a lot more about myself, my God and the world I live in than I did 10 years ago. With challenges and times filled with good and bad, I have grown as a person, into someone I am proud to be.

Without any obstacles to overcome, life would be pretty boring. It is impossible to appreciate the light without the darkness, the sweet without the sour, or the good without the bad. Even with the obstacles before, we don’t have to fear because God is always with us.

Psalm 34:19 -- “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.”

Just like we want to give our own children space to grow and learn for themselves, God allows us time and opportunity to grow as individuals and make decisions on our own. However, rely on God because he is with us every step of the way and he will always rescue us.

4. Rely on God’s Timing

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Hebrews 4:16 -- “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

Our God is a Just in Time God. He sees the entire story, he can understand how our actions or lack of action will affect the course of history. It may be in a small way, or it may be in a very big way that we could never foresee. God gives us each talents and callings to use in his name, but we have to wait for his go ahead or it will be a fruitless effort.

We are meant to have all of the experiences described in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, but each in its own time. By getting distracted trying to plant when it is time to harvest is only going to lead to despair. Trying to speak when it is time to be quiet is only going to lead to doubt. But by relying on God’s timing we can appreciate the lessons God is teaching us during this time, whatever it may be for you. By relying and becoming in tuned with God’s timing, we can be a peace with God and ourselves and get the most out of life because before we know it the time will change.

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Dear Lord,
Help me to understand what time I am in and appreciate it for the lessons you are teaching me right now. I pray that you give me understanding to your plan and help me to realize that everything happens for a reason, even if I never know what the reason is. I ask that you open my ears and my heart to learn the lessons you have for me and to build a more personal relationship with you. Help me to grow as a person and not be afraid of the opportunities before me to do so. And most importantly, help me to rely fully on you and your timing for my life. Sometimes, I don’t know what time it is in my life, please help me to understand what this time means to me and then prepare me for the next because time is always changing.

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