1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
So, I have heard this scripture preached a million and a half times, most of the time it is is preached in regards to mourning or death, usually focusing on verse 4. But tonight, I feel God has something different for us as we read this passage.
In high school, I was always a bit of a bookworm. I was admittedly quite an underachiever, but I’ve always had a passion for books, which fueled a desire to become a literature teacher. I will go ahead and spoil the ending for you here and say that I have not pursued that passion as of yet. Now, I promise there is a reason for that digression, so please bear with me.
I’d like to bring your attention to verse 6, in which King Solomon makes a statement that makes me just a bit uncomfortable to be honest: “a time to search, and a time to give up”. In America, we are taught that only quitters give up. We are taught that giving up is the pinnacle of shame. But here in the scripture, we see God giving us the okay to give up. . . now everyone go ahead and say this aloud with me: “WHAT’S UP WITH THAT?!”
Well, I think that here is a huge Biblical principle here that we need to apply to our own lives. The name of the law is the Law of Reciprocity, but we’ll just call it the law of give and take. Simply put, it means that if you give something will be given back to you. We see this repeated in scripture over and over again. As in Malachi 3, the famous tithing chapter, where God says that we should give our tithe, and then he will bless us abundantly.
So, you may ask yourself how this all relates. The answer is quite simple. We have to give up sometimes to find what we weren’t looking for, which is God’s best for us. I know that beyond the shadow of a doubt that if i had pursued a career in teaching Literature I would have been happy for a time, but only just a short time. I was called to be in ministry, which is what God had for me, it was what I wasn’t looking for. When we can find it within ourselves to give up what we want, we can find what we didn’t know we needed. The best part is that God does know what we need.
The best example I could ever give of someone giving up something dear is that of Jesus Christ. In John 19, we see a beautiful example of the worst deal ever made. At verse 30, most translations read something like this: “He gave up His spirit”. Yes, Jesus gave up something. He gave up His own desire to live. A perfect man gave up his life for a world full of imperfect people. The only one who deserved to live, gave up himself so that we could live with him, in him, and through him.
It is a part of the impeccable character of God to be generous. He doesn’t have to give anything to us in exchange for our obedience, but he does anyway. Jesus received eternal glory, having the “Name above every other name” for giving up his will. We can find ourselves when we give up our ours.
What are you holding on to that is holding you back from receiving God’s best for your life?
Today, I realized something about myself, that the depression I’ve dealt with for much of my life is more than just an affliction from the devil. I believe that every affliction of the enemy is in exact correlation to and in exact opposition to a gift God has given us.
You see, I am at heart an evangelist, I find no greater joy than when people finally see their own need for Jesus Christ in their lives. I love to hear people’s stories and help them reach the pivotal time when they decide to make the biggest decision they will ever make. I love impacting people.
Lately, though, I’ve felt rather forlorn. Hope has seemed scarce, especially when facing the battle with migraines that I’ve been waging recently. I realize I’m a bit of a classic melancholic, but this has pushed me back to the edge of depression, and today was no exception. I felt pretty horrible as a start, but after much medication and prayer I’ve been kind of productive today. I decided to get my oil changed and stroll through my local Wal Mart while I waited. I had my Ipod playing some of my favorite music when a song came on that always wrenches my heart anyway, and I found myself on the brink of tears when God spoke to my heart. . .
It was like he said “Do you get it yet? You weren’t made depressed, you were made broken.”. God was expressing to me that part of his plan for me is for me to be soft-hearted, that when people tell me their stories, that I would feel the pain that they must be feeling. He showed me that I may have been attacked with depression because the enemy wants to blind me to the gift of God in my life.
The bible says “Therefore we Do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary struggles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Corinthians 4 16,17) But why does our trouble or struggle achieve glory? Is there something inherent in struggle that makes it glorious?
I think not.
I believe our struggles achieve glory because we struggle through the attacks where the enemy is suppressing God’s gift in us. We fight for the thing that brings him glory, which in turn wins us glory in his kingdom.