Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven (v.1).
Last summer brought unrelenting temperatures of more than 100 degrees to my part of the country. So when a day arrived when the sky brought overcast clouds and rain, I began to think about autumn and cooler weather. I love certain aspects of summer, but the too hot days stir my anticipation for what comes next.
The same is true as I watch my children grow. Every stage has something in it that I never want to lose and other characteristics that leave me anxiously awaiting the next place of maturity.
Perhaps this idea is what Solomon meant when he wrote, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Because we were made in the image of the eternal God—and for an eternal relationship with Him—nothing we experience on this side of heaven will permanently silence our desire for something different.
Even the believer who understands Paul’s admonition to be content in all circumstances knows what it is to feel longing (Philippians 1:23). It’s the inescapable mark that we were made for something beyond this moment.
Just as seasons are an inevitable part of creation, they will be a constant source of change in our lives. We can take comfort, however, knowing that the same God who designed the boundaries of time (Genesis 1:14) has the power to direct every season we will encounter.
He’s not a distant observer who simply gazes upon the ‘births’ and ‘deaths’ of our lives. He’s a God who lovingly takes every event, even those planned for our demise, and forms them for our good and His glory (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Read Psalms 104:1 to see how God has ordered all creation, including our well-being.
What season in life are you currently experiencing? How can you find joy in it without being afraid of it changing? What are some of your longings that are an evidence of ‘eternity’ in your heart?
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