The Timing of God

The Timing of God

Ecclesiastes 3:1-15

“He has made everything appropriate in its time.”


            Often we look upon life; it seems like a series of chance events interrupt our life without meaning or purpose and incomprehensible to us.  There is a time to be born and a time to die. Yet the time is not only undetermined by us but entirely beyond our ability to grasp.  Just as we had no say in determining when we were born, we also have no say concerning the timing of our death.  The length of time and the events along the timeline of our lives are utterly undetermined by us.  The list of 14 different pairs of opposite ends of the spectrum illustrates that our lives are governed by a series of fixed events but not fixed by us.  Even though these events happen, we are powerless to cause or stop them in the end. These events happen whether we are ready for them or not.  But this is not meant to lead us down a road to fatalism, in which these events are predetermined and inevitable, and we have no control. Instead, it reminds us that we are mortals and that, in the end, we cannot fully understand all God is doing.

            So how do we live in a world where events unfold that we have no control over?  It starts by looking to the one who does have control. In the 1960s, the band “The Byrds” popularized these verses by the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!”  While the song sought to capture the cycles of life, by ending with verse 8, it missed the whole point of the poem.  The preacher reminds us in verses 9-10 that we cannot fully comprehend the purpose behind all these events. We are mortal and still trapped by the events that happen.  However, while we cannot control the events, there is one who does; God (vs. 11).  God has made everything “appropriate in its time.”  The term “appropriate” refers to that which is marked by suitability and rightness.  It is that which is beautiful.  Rather than the events being arbitrary and without purpose, they are orchestrated by God like a master painter orchestrates the strokes of a brush to create a beautiful masterpiece.  God brings all these events into our life so that they might rearrange our perspective.  Instead of looking at the present, we turn our eyes to eternity.  When we see life in the context of eternity, we begin to enjoy life (vs. 12-15). 

            Daily we are reminded how mortal we are and how powerless we are to control the events in our life.  But this should not lead us to despair but to faith, for we have a loving God who controls these events, and he orchestrates them in a way that accomplishes what is good.  In the present, we cannot comprehend, for we see things only from an earthly, temporal perspective.  But when we step into the presence of God and see all things from an eternal perspective, then we will affirm with Paul, “All things work together for God to those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).  The answer to the paradoxes of life comes when we trust in the timing of God, for God’s timing is always perfect, and the present is what he has set for us from eternity past.  Thus, we can enjoy life, recognizing that these events are part of the gift of life.  We enjoy life when we realize that “everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it, and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him” (vs 14).   Only by looking into eternity can we truly see the joy of the present. 


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