“For everything there is a season. He has made everything suitable for its time; moreover he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11
Read Ecclesiastes 3:1-13
I thought that I was fairly easy-going and spontaneous until I lived in countries that were less concerned with planning and much more spontaneous than I was used to. It was then that my Western love for control and order really kicked in!
I am probably not unique. We Westerners love to feel that we are in control. When we make New Year’s resolutions, we are confident we will be able to change certain areas of our lives. While self-control is healthy, it’s probably safe to say that our culture tends to over-estimate, even idolize, our ability to control the world around us.
The writer of Ecclesiastes seeks to save us from our control-prone selves. If there is one common denominator of all the “seasons” of life that he lists, it’s that they are ultimately controlled by God, not us. We believe that God has some order to things, but ultimately we “cannot find out” what that order is. The writer doesn’t despair, however; he finds a freedom in this! Accepting and resting in God’s order frees him to eat, drink and enjoy the day in which he finds himself.
Notice, it’s the same theme that God later reiterates through the birth and work of his son. The “planners” who thought they knew what God was going to do couldn’t grasp God’s plan through Jesus. The ones who observed what God’s Spirit was doing then and there in the moment got it. May we too celebrate life as we rest in God’s control.
Lord Jesus, you are the one who orders our lives. Help us to rest in this. May we daily celebrate the gifts you give us.
Darren Duerksen, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, Fresno Pacific University