“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what 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; –  Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

In the movie, About Time, the men in Tim’s family share an odd genetic quirk – the ability to travel in time. Skeptical at first blush, Tim is skeptical when his dear old dad finally spills the beans to him. When he finds it is true, Tim sets off to find and win a wife. A task that would seem a little more manageable with the gift of do overs. But that assumption is quickly proven both correct and incorrect, as Tim awkwardly navigates the perils of growing up and trying to become a responsible adult worthy of finding true love and, subsequently, true happiness.

On our life’s journey we’ll face many different situations, experience many different experiences, and meet many different people. Sometimes things go great and we rejoice. But, sometimes things go bad and we are sad. Sometimes our feelings are hurt, and we become isolated. Sometimes we really blow it. Sometimes we get it right, and we smile. The Bible says that God takes these collective experiences and eventually makes something beautiful out of all of the loose ends.

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is an appropriate time for all of life’s experiences and expectations. Everything must come in its appropriate time. If you get it out of sync you are in trouble, especially when you can’t go back in time to fix  the problem. The problem is that we are constantly trying to run this schedule ourselves. But God has already planned the schedule. 

Solomon is telling us that we are not going to escape the hurts and sorrows of life. God chose them for us. The proof is God’s own Son. Jesus was not handed a beautiful life with everything perfect, free from struggle and pain. No, He was,“despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief.” {Isaiah 53:3}. There will be times of hurt, of sorrow and weeping.

Unlike Tim, we are trapped in time with all the unfulfilled expectations that the passing of time brings to us. And if this world is all there is, we’re in trouble. But Solomon asserts that God can make things beautiful when appropriate to do so.  While God has not given us every detail of what our tomorrows will be like, He can and will recreate something beautiful out of the brokenness of our lives.

Discussion Questions:

  1. In Ecclesiastes 3, is Solomon describing what is or what one should do?
  2. The point of Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 is that God is sovereign. What does sovereignty mean? How does trusting that God is sovereign impact the way you live and view life?
  3. What would you say to someone who struggles with God because of suffering? How have you seen God bring something good out of something bad?
  4. Pray and ask God to trust His timing in your life this week.