“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV)
Our lives are marked by the passage of time. We celebrate birthdays and anniversaries; we have graduation ceremonies; we throw retirement parties. Major events and milestones are represented by entire sections of Hallmark greeting cards. As human beings created by God, we have been given the ability to remember and the ability to sense the passage of time in order to help us make sense of our existence.
This is different than, say, the life of a dog. Our dogs have no sense of time (beyond when it’s time to eat, sleep, or go outside). They do not place any emphasis on the day of their birth. They do not celebrate the anniversary of when they came into our home. And they certainly don’t send greeting cards to other people at specific times of the year – although I think I’ve seen a few cards for sale that claim to be sent from someone’s pet.
Today marks the beginning of “deer season” – or more appropriately, as I’ve learned in the past year, “firearm season.” For the next few weeks, many people in our church and community will spend a great deal of time outdoors looking and waiting for just the right shot to take. The anticipation I’ve seen several men express before this day came reminds me of the anticipation children have in the days leading up to Christmas. There’s a raw, palpable excitement in the air as we have been preparing for this season.
Thank God for the gift of seasons! Can you imagine how dull and uninteresting life might be if it were always rifle season, or always winter, or always baseball season? (I’m serious! Sometimes a bad baseball season just needs to come to an end.) As Ecclesiastes 3 reminds us, life is full of seasons, or times when certain actions or feelings are more natural than others. I believe this is part of God’s design for humanity: to know seasons, to know change, to recognize that time is passing, to live with an awareness that we have the potential to grow.
Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God “has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (NIV).
We are always aware of the change in our seasons. In this we are a step ahead of our canine friends. Are we as aware that God is so much more complex and amazing than even we can imagine? Can we begin to wrap our minds around what God has done throughout all history?
And to think that the fullness of God dwells in the person of Jesus! (See Colossians 1:15-20.) What an astounding thought: that we are invited to know this Jesus personally, intimately, deeply; to worship him, to learn from him, to be forgiven by him, to become more like him on a daily basis. How amazing! This is a truth that is worth sharing with others. It is one that will never go out of season.