A Montrose Church Lent Devotional by Pastor Rick
Lent Day 4
Today's reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
In the ebb and flow of life, uncertainty is an ever-present reality. The truth is we simply don't control the seasons of life, and in a heartbeat, things can change. We live in a world that seems scattered and chaotic. Yet, at the same time, seasons are so consistent that they must be taken into consideration. Ecclesiastes drives this point home to us.
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens" (Ecclesiastes 3:1). This is true, isn’t it, yet we must read it in light of the fact that we live in a fallen and broken world. The counsel given here is good, but not complete. We are reminded that if we live in the timing of God we will recognize that "He has made everything beautiful in its time" (Ecclesiastes 3:9). The problem is that many, many people do not seek the counsel of God, and this can and has led to incredible pain and suffering. Outside of God everything is not beautiful. In God, grace abounds and brings healing and renewal and restoration to a broken, fractured, and needy world.
Most of us are trying to make sense of things. We don’t have all the answers; a lot of the time we don’t have any answers. Still we search and long for meaning. Why? Solomon says it is because God “has… set eternity in the human heart" (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In his Confessions, Augustine prayed, "Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee." When eternity is in the human heart it will also be restless until God fills the restlessness with His peace.
In his brief novel, The Adventure of the Cardboard Box, Arthur Conan Doyle has Sherlock Holmes speaking to his associate, Watson,
"What is the meaning of it, Watson?" said Holmes solemnly as he laid down the paper. "What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear? It must tend to some end, or else our universe is ruled by chance, which is unthinkable. But what end? There is the great standing perennial problem to which human reason is as far from an answer as ever.”
- first published in "The Strand Magazine" in 1893
"What is the meaning of it?" I think about this in the season of Lent. Much of my life hasn’t made sense. Like you, I have suffered. I’ve had my setbacks, my ups and downs. Yet, in my journey, filled with a grace I do not deserve, I have discovered and am still discovering that "[God] has made everything beautiful in its time." Seasons come and go but within the embrace of God, life makes sense. I don’t understand everything, but with King David of old I, too, say, "I trust in you, LORD; I say ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands" (Psalm 31:14-15).
In the season of Lent, may God help us to see beneath the surface of things and find our rest in Him.
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