(KJV) Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven; A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.  What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboreth?  I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.  He hath made everything beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.

I always say that I love the book of Ecclesiastes because it is so practical.  While there may be some deep, hidden meaning to parts of the book, there are also many portions that can be taken literally.  Just so with this passage from chapter 3.  It can be summed up in these two phrases: To everything there is a season and He hath made everything beautiful in his time.  But the words in between aren’t just fluff; God doesn’t use fluff in the Bible.  He has purpose for every word.

So, literally, can you think of any times that might fit in this passage?  Birth and death.  Planting and harvesting.  Weeping and laughing.  War and peace.  These are easy.  When I read, “a time to kill, and a time to heal”, I think of my mother’s poor old cat, Brandy.  She was suffering when we put her down, and her absence left an empty place on mom’s bed.  Then we found a stuffed cat that looked just like Brandy, and mom put it in her cat’s place.  A time of healing.  A time to cast away stones, perhaps out of a garden to make way for seeds.  A time to gather stones together, perhaps to build a wall.  A time to break down, as in corrective criticism, and a time to build up, as in praise.  A time to embrace, as when children say goodnight to their parents.  A time to refrain from embracing – did you ever try to hug your mother right after playing in the mud?  A time to love the sinner though you may hate the sin that binds them.

God has a time and a purpose for everything.  Let me say it again.  Everything.  He has a purpose for the good.  He has a purpose for the bad.  Matthew 4:45 reminds us, “For he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjunst.”  God doesn’t reserve the roses and sunshine for the Christian, nor does He always make the life of the wicked unbearable.  People are not won to Christ by their lot in life.  Instead, they watch Christians who profess that God has a purpose in all things.  When hardship befalls the Christian, the unbeliever watches to see if the Christian will curse God and die, as Job’s wife encouraged him to do.  Don’t lose faith, dear Christian.  God has a purpose for whatever hardship may come your way.  Remember the beloved verse, Romans 8:28: “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

God makes everything beautiful in His time.  I used to use this verse as an object lesson for teenagers.  I would show them a piece of embroidery.  The back is just a mess of strings and knots.  But when you turn the piece over, you see a beautiful picture.  Maybe you feel like your life is a bunch of strings and knots.  All hardship, little joy.  Maybe you’ve asked, “God, why?  What is going on?  I don’t understand You right now.”  Fear not.  He has a purpose for what you’re going through, and He will let you see that purpose when he is ready.  He makes everything beautiful in His time.