“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the sun… A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.” (Eccl.3:1,6)
Where is that point in life where we stop collecting and begin discarding? It’s often a subtle move we are only conscious of after it has already begun. I have come to learn through the years that one of life’s little secrets is that God gave us the concept of time not just so we could mark it, but so we could work it. It’s for good reason the Psalmist says, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (90:12). Not just keeping track of their number, but having a realization of God’s predetermined timing.
It is possible to become fixed in one mental time frame, as it were, and find oneself almost incapable of change. This is one result of an underdeveloped sense of timing: inflexibility. This not only limits us, but it affects those around us, who are not hampered by this ball and chain. Another loss that comes with this kind of shortsighted living is the joy of anticipation, which life should always hold for a child of God. One reason people dread old age is the change that it brings. But if you and I can see change as a new adventure with God, physical limitation (and even breakdown) can be greatly overshadowed by new spiritual possibilities.
Is one season of life better than another? To hear some people talk, you would think so. But I’m not one of them. Oh, I may reminisce, as Job, about the time “when my children were about me (29:5); but if they had not grown up and married, I wouldn’t have my wonderful grandchildren and great-grandchildren! No, I will not pine for the past seasons of my life, because I know it’s what we do with those seasons that makes the difference between frustration and fulfillment.
The last half of verse one tells us how we should see and navigate through every season of life. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” You see, every season has its purpose. Therefore, to say, as we age, “My life has no purpose,” is to deny the Word of God. My life may have had a different purpose forty years ago, but it has no less purpose today. And if my sense of timing is on track, I will be of as much use to God today as I was forty years ago. Who knows? perhaps more so. Now, that’s exciting!
Larnelle Harris sings a song along these lines that always brings a tear to the eyes of my husband and me. It’s called, “More To the Story,” and here are some of the lyrics:
The pews were always full on Sunday morning;
They used to hang on every word you said.
And though each year of life has added wisdom,
You feel more like a chapter that’s been read.
You’re wondering if you’ve still got something left to give.
I want you to know that as long as you live…
There is always more to the story;
Each new sunrise brings another chance to shine.
I know it’s hard believing, but don’t worry
He is God of all our days, and there’s always more to the story