WHOSE STORY IS IT?
1There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven—
2A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
3A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
5A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
6A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
7A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
8A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.
9What profit is there to the worker from that in which he toils? 10I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves.
11He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
12I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; 13moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God. 14I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has soworked that men should fear Him. 15That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.
16Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. 17I said to myself, “God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man,” for a time for every matter and for every deed is there. 18I said to myself concerning the sons of men, “God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts.” 19For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same. As one dies so dies the other; indeed, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast, for all is vanity. 20All go to the same place. All came from the dust and all return to the dust. 21Who knows that the breath of man ascends upward and the breath of the beast descends downward to the earth? 22I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities, for that is his lot. For who will bring him to see what will occur after him?
- Poetry 3:1-8
- Pain 3:9-22
- God is writing the greatest story ever, a story big enough to fill all eternity with meaning. Why does a good story require difficulty, courage, or a character that overcomes adversity? Why do we tend to complain when we are confronted with these things in our stories? Where or when in your life have you faced the most adversity?
- 3:1-8. Solomon says that there is an “appointed time” for each of these events. Because God is infinite, intimate, and intricate, He brings exactly what we need exactly when we need it to grow and change us to be more like Jesus. What is your normal response when difficulty and trial come? (James 1:1-3, 2 Cor. 4:17)
- What does it look like for you to trust that He will make everything beautiful in the end? How could this change how you interact and respond to the difficulties you are facing?
- In what ways are you seeking to write your own story and asking God to bless it? In what ways do you allow what you can’t control to destroy what you can enjoy? What does repentance and trust look like in that?
- What areas of your story do you need to lay down? What anxieties do you need to give to Him? What things do you need to stop worrying about? (Psalm 46:10) How does verbalizing those things to your community help?