The Book of Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) says there is a time for every season in life under the sun. And the passage shows no place for a “man of exception” regarding what wisdom says that happens to everyone.
Yes! Even Jesus did not live His live differently.
He was born. He died. In addition, every process in human life was real in Jesus’ experience.
There was a time for Him to be born and a time to die; a time to plant, to sow, to preach and to invest, as well as a time to uproot what had been planted and make room for the plants that wanted to bear fruit.
There was also a time for Him to kill, saying, “May you never bear fruit again!”, as well as a time to heal—and how!
There was a time for Him to tear down, saying “not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down”, as well as a time to say that what He was building up would defeat even the gates of hell.
Ah! There was a time to weep and mourn over the death of good people of God as well as cry while saying to Jerusalem, “How often I have longed to gather your children together, but you were not willing!”
There was a time to laugh with simple people and not very serious sinners as well as a time to weep in loneliness, as it was impossible to find at least one friend to stand by on the Temptation day.
There was a time to make wine, drink and dance with those who celebrated in Cana of Galilee, as if it were a time to imagine the return of a beloved son and how a grateful father would respond to the comeback of the one who was believed to be lost and dead. For Jesus, such an event of grace was to be celebrated with music and dancing.
There was a time to scatter the stones that were only stumbling-stones to others as well as a time to gather stones, the stones that He would use to build up His Cathedral of Love, made of stones and other pebbles from the river of life as it is.
Yes! There was a time to embrace children, elders, friends and even some of His enemies, although a time came, too, when He refrained from all the embraces of falsehood.
There was a time to seek what was lost; to find those who, once found, would greatly surprise the ones who had already pronounced them not findable.
But to Him there was also a time to lose and feel sorry for those who listened and did not believe; had the chance and threw it away; were given the blessing and refused it.
There was also a time for Him to keep, to hide, to conceal, to put out of sight, to say that pearls are not to be thrown to pigs, and that some things, if not received willingly, become concealed to the rejecters.
That’s why He also had a time of throwing away, saying that what had some value before now was no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
There was a time for Him to tear the old cloths of Israel’s religion, saying that the cloth they put on as religious coverings were not fitting—even as patches—as garments for the kingdom.
However, there was also a time for Him to mend but only the relationships that are restored by the grace of forgiveness.
There was a time to be silent, not opening His mouth as He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers. But there was a time to speak, and He spoke to the point that His speech was unbearable to some, whereas others, perplexed, said, “No one ever spoke the way this man does!”
Yet, there was a time for Him to love only, and never a time to hate, although He was fighting a war all the time. Even so He never failed to carry within Himself the Age of Peace.
Religion, however, especially in its western corruptions, seeks and offers a life with no shifts. Yes! They want to shift off the shifts in life!
They deceit the people by talking about a life in which you only laugh, you only embrace, you only win, you only dance, you only gather, you only build, you are only born, you only find, you only add up, you only celebrate, you only speak, you are only successful!
Then life comes…
And there comes a time to cry, to mourn, to weep, to lose, to die, to bury, to uproot, to scatter, to fight, to face, to stop talking, to be silent, to be wordless, to tear, to throw away, to pull down and to unbuild with your own hands.
Then, those who lack an “Ecclesiastes” in their souls as well as the wisdom of life—as it is—, are scandalized and weakened, and say they were cheated by God and are being persecuted by some life conspiracy…
All of my life I used to eat sweets. Now, that I was diagnosed with diabetes last week, a time has come for me to quit eating sweets until God only knows when.
All of a sudden, Dad had to start using a catheter so he could urinate. “Oh Dad!”, I wailed after hearing what was happening to him since last week. * “No! That’s only natural, my son!”
“Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”, Job asked his wife, to whom life could not have all its extremes and seasons, otherwise she would wonder, “Where is God?”
The seasons cycle in the Ecclesiastes does not happen under the powers of chance or good luck or bad luck. No! Behind each season are love, opportunity, wisdom and the Grace of God.
Someone may ask: “How?”
In a fallen world, we only have a chance to find wisdom to live our lives if we find it between life’s extremes, for if there is birth and death, therefore everything else connected to life and death is between them in existence.
In Christ, however, we learn from this “inevitable process” that due to its very inevitability, it carries the seed of the inevitable grace, because if a person loves God in each season he/she goes through, then in each of them he/she will find out that all things work together for good to those who love God with all their heart in every phase of life.
Yes—that’s only natural! And it only adds value to the better part, which will never be taken from us!
In Him, who is our entire life, in every season and circumstance,
Lago Norte – Brasília
Translation: F. R. Castelo Branco | October 2007
From the original “O ECLESIASTES E OS CICLOS DA EXISTÊNCIA”
*As reported in earlier translated texts, Rev. Caio Fábio’s father passed away last September 19.