Laura Simpkins reflects on Ecclesiastes 3: 1-15
As the first frost of the year melts, the glistening ponds in our back garden reappear, mud and fallen leaves from ancient oaks creating a slippery network of little motes around the numerous molehills. The bright sun can’t disguise the chill. It is undisputedly winter. In this season we look back at 2020 with thanks for the many good things we have experienced. However, none of us has been untouched by the suffering, fear and heartbreak of this year. Some of us might even be tempted to ask, ‘Where has God been this year?’
I invite you to pause here to listen to the Byrds’ folk rock hit of 1965 Turn! Turn! Turn! – click here. The song’s lyrics were nearly exclusively taken from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 in the King James Version. Pete Seeger wrote it as a call to peace during the Vietnam War; however, the passage reaches even deeper into history.
In the poetry of the first verses, Ecclesiastes 3 reminds believers that God has His hand on all things throughout all of time, past, present and future; and that nothing escapes his watchful eye and steadying hand. The writer, possibly King Solomon, continues to make sure we get the point:
‘He 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. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil – this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.’ Ecclesiastes 3: 11-15
God has built in humanity a yearning to understand and look towards eternity. We also have deep in us a (sometimes suppressed) desire to revere and praise Him, walking hand and hand through the days, months, years and millennia, in work, struggle, pleasure, joy and pain. He wastes no words or actions. He allows nothing to come to pass that will not work for good through the power of his Spirit. His timing and all He does is perfect.
Sometimes steps of faith, in whatever form they take, can be daunting. So let’s help each other to refresh our perspective in this New Year. Our peace comes from knowing our God is unchanging. His plan for us is for blessing in both the short and long term, regardless of circumstance and the fallen
state of this world. We always have hope through Christ!
You might like to look up some of the highlights of the year, including the really good news, not limited to the discovery of viable COVID-19 vaccines.
Suggested further reading
- Jeremiah 29:11
- Romans 8:28
Suggested worship music
Dear Father, I pause in stillness to take a moment to thank you for the many blessings of this year.
Now I pause to lift up to you the deep hurts of 2020, personal and global.
I repent, or turn, from my own failures and recommit to the way of love in Christ.
I chose to turn away from negativity, godless thinking and fear peddled by the Enemy.
I wholeheartedly turn towards the challenges and joys of this coming year in expectancy, and ask in faith for your hand of healing on those who need it.
I thank you for Jesus who was, coming as a babe, giving his life through crucifixion; who is as our comforter and friend; and who will be, shining in eternity with us at his right hand in joy never-ending.
Unfailing and unchanging God, I praise you and offer up my life to you afresh.
Laura Simpkins, discipleship coordinator