A Time for Everything
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. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, NIV)
This was brought home to me the other day. Not so much the full passage, but the first verse – definitely.
You see, I was in the hospital a few weeks ago.
The last day of 2011, our scheduled Christmas festivities with my in-laws, ended with my husband driving me back over the mountain to our local hospital. I was a little over 30 weeks pregnant at the time and experiencing some pelvic pain and bleeding. Uh…scary? You better believe it! Especially after being on bed rest for 2 1/2 weeks with my last child...especially after seeing our son hooked up to feeding tubes and wires and breathing apparatus when his scheduled delivery didn’t go exactly as planned. I was a mess on the inside – “Lord, I don’t think I can bear to watch another one of my children go to the NICU.” and “Lord, I’m scared. Why am I bleeding? Is it all going to happen again?” as well as other internal incoherent prayers offered up as I struggled to trust in His grace and His sovereignty. My in-laws kept all three of our children at their house for the night, so that we knew they would be okay. My husband held my hand as he drove.
After five or six hours hooked up to the machines, and only 1-2 real contractions during that whole time, I got to come home. However, the pelvic pain occasionally starts back up and – and – to see me walking right now is an exercise in absurdity. I’m 33, yet to watch me walk right now would bring to mind 90 year old ladies and people learning to walk again. Halting. With obvious difficulty. With pain.
I’m not upset about this. And, I’m not posting this to make anyone feel sorry for me. It’s okay. It’s a season. It’s a painful season, but still…just a season. And, hey – I get a baby out of it. That helps make it all worth it. 😀
Which brings me to the point of this post:
This life, this time that we spend on this planet – it’s a season.
I was leaving LifeWay the other night after helping pull a publication together. I shuffled myself out to the van, opened the door and carefully lifted myself in to the driver’s seat. I was feeling a bit exasperated about the whole walking thing and I was talking to myself (I’m sure no one else ever does that, right?). “Okay, Jess. It’s going to be okay. This is just a season. Yes, it hurts, but it’s just for a season.”
Out of the blue, a couple of thoughts bubbled up inside of me:
- This life? It’s just a season.
- Yes, it hurts. Life does that sometimes. But, it’s just for a season.
I was reminded of a C.S. Lewis quote that I saw someone post recently on Facebook: “If you think of this world as a place simply intended for our happiness, you find it quite intolerable: think of it as a place for training and correction and it’s not so bad.” (Another Source for the quote.)
As Christians, Heaven is our home. Earth is the way station…the training grounds…the place where we are born in flesh and blood and, through the power of the Holy Spirit, reborn through spirit, water and truth, granting us an eternity with our Master and Maker. Pain is but part of the birthing process. It’s part of the natural birthing process and part of the spiritual birthing process. Jesus, the almighty and amazing Son of God, endured suffering – the author of Hebrews said that it was “for the joy set before him”. (Heb. 12:2, NIV) May it be the same for us.
My current season of pain will (Lord willing!) end with a baby born and another healing C-section scar. There will be more pain after that. It’s a given. It’s part of living in a fallen, sin-filled world. (John 16:33, NIV) But…take heart! We’re only here for a season.
My prayer is that I, too, walk joyfully through the pain, looking at it as part of the labor pains of being slowly, surely formed into a new creation – one fit for heaven.
Let’s walk joyfully together.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Heb. 3:13, NIV).
Shuffling forward in joy,