Special-Tea: Ecclesiastes 3:1–8
However many years a man may live, let him enjoy them all. — Ecclesiastes 11:8 (NIV)
Once again we stand at the portal of time, 2013 behind us, and, through the door, 2014.
Now, I’m not one to dwell on events of the past year. Neither do I ponder what the new year will bring. I make plans, but I know they can be changed in an instant. All I have to do is look back and I’m reminded that “many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established” (Proverbs 19:21). And I’m not one to go through old pictures and scrapbooks. I used to save greeting cards, but after you’ve been married for 40 years and have lived 62, the boxes of such “stuff” become overwhelming. I think a few pictures, a few mementoes of special events are all that’s needed.
It’s a mistake to live life in the past, wrote Richard Paul Evans, author of “The Walk” series. “One cannot ride a horse backwards and still hold its reins.” (Note to readers: If you haven’t read “The Walk” series, I highly recommend it.)
As time goes on, I find I dwell on the good things and process the “bad,” learn from it, and move on.
I put quotation marks around the word “bad” because I believe if God is in control of my life, nothing that happens to me is “bad.” Call me Pollyanna, but I know God can (and will) redeem situations that aren’t to my liking.
Redeem is a word we hear in church often: With His own blood, Christ redeemed our souls — bought them back from the Evil One.
Redeem, however, means more than “to free from captivity by payment of a ransom.” It also means “to make (something that is bad, unpleasant, etc.) better or more acceptable,” “to offset the bad effect of, to make worthwhile.” (Definitions from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary: www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/redeem)
I love that my God can redeem even the ugliest, most painful situations in my life.
I know there is evil in the world. I shudder when I think of it. But the child of God need not fear evil. “Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge, Even the Most High, your dwelling place, No evil shall befall you ... For He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you in all your ways” (Psalm 91:9–11).
I’ve learned to embrace the high points and low points, times of joy and times of sorrow, times of disappointment, discouragement and concern, as well as times of “high cotton,” because God has allowed them all in order to make me what I am, to shape me into the person He wants me to me.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11)
“Life is not a sprint. It was never meant to be,” writes Evans in “A Step of Faith.” “It is just one step of faith after another.”
Help me, Father, to learn from the past, embrace the present, and step into the future with faith, knowing that Your Presence will go with me (Exodus 33:14). Amen.