Wednesday, February 2, 2011

There Is A Time for Everything

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace."

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

I think we're in a time of snow! When I look outside my window I see a blanket of white, thick and heavy, covering our yard, the grass, the bushes. I know I'm in the minority, but I really do enjoy the snow season. The fluffy white covers and changes the look of this dead neighborhood, brightens it, and makes it beautiful again. I don't get excited about the storm because I know the snow will melt. It will not be winter forever. And when this season is over I will be ready for the next change, spring and it's growing and blooming. I really love the changing seasons!

This verse from Ecclesiastes really sums up life. I have navigated some of these "times" without hesitation. It's not hard to figure out when it's a time to weep or a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. But what about "a time to search and a time to give up"? That's a pretty important one to get right. How will I know which "season" I'm in? What if I'm scattering stones when I'm supposed to be gathering them?

I think more times then not I am asking those questions. How will I know? What should I do? How do I decide?

Last week one of our children got caught in a lie. All of the sudden a series of untruths were revealed and we had to deal with the issue of lying. As parents we do the best that we can, but does anyone really know how to handle these things? I certainly felt at a loss, wanting to do the right thing and keep it from continuing any further. I suppose most kids go through a phase of this at one point or another. It's a life lesson and I welcome the opportunity to make our stance on it clear to both of our children. Our Pastor's sermon last Sunday was a great reminder to center it all on God, our parenting, our discipline, everything we encounter in life. Like the planets orbit around the sun, our lives should orbit around the Son.

We're also dealing with some truck issues and when I started this post I had no information. It's the transmission, but for the last day or so we have been in a holding pattern. They couldn't even get it to start let alone to figure out what was wrong or how much it would cost us. And in that space of "not knowing" the questions revisit about what we will do and how to decide. Even in prayer the answers do not come falling out of the sky (sometimes I wish they would).

It's in this place when I don't know what to do or what's going to happen that I have to ACTIVELY be working and choosing my responses. I can very easily start on a train of worry that will take me off into "crazy land". I have to really keep my thoughts in check as I try to wait patiently for the information that will come. And I know even having the information won't necessarily ease my mind. I know the right thing to do is to surrender. God knows what's going to happen and He will help us deal with whatever comes. Boy is that hard!

I love and am convicted by these quotes (both from Paul Miller author of "A Praying Life") about surrendering to God.

"The great struggle of my life is not trying to discern God's will; it is trying to discern and then disown my own. Once I see that then prayer flows. I have to be praying because I'm no longer in charge. Either I see all of life as a gift, or I demand that life have a certain look to it."

"Anxiety wants to be God but lacks God's wisdom, power, or knowledge. Because anxiety is self on its own, it tries to get control. It is unable to relax in the face of chaos."

My heart wants to "relax in the face of chaos". My mind wants to hide under that pile of snow in my front yard and wait until spring thaws me out. I'll leave you with this final Paul Miller quote (his "A Praying Life" book is a must have).

"If God is sovereign, then he is in control of all the details of my life. If he is loving, then he is going to be shaping the details of my life for my good. If he is all-wise, then he's not going to do everything I want because I don't know what I need."

Where's that snow pile???


lisaqshay said...

hey...i just rec'd Paul Miller's book!
looove it so far. do you know that his mother n law, Jane Hebden, was my mentor waaaaay back in the day when shawn and i were working with chelten's youth group?
i love her dearly. she is so precious to me.
thanks for this post!

Unknown said...

Lisa, I think you're really going to enjoy Paul Miller's writing. How awesome that you have a connection to him. Paul spoke about prayer at our church a couple of years ago and both of his books were a real encouragement to me. And I just saw you could purchase both "A Praying Life" and "Love Walked Among Us" from John Piper at How cool is that?

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