by Anne Elmer
What times are these? Difficult times, a time of recession, times of change, times of transition, the end times? So much is being said at the moment about the times we are living in that I felt nudged to read once more that beautiful passage from Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot.
A time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build.
A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them; a time to embrace and a time to refrain.
A time to search and a time to give up; a time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend; a time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.”
If you have time, I recommend that you look into the Hebrew meanings of some of those comparisons. But the general message is that the God who lives outside time (that concept is too big for my imagination) wants us to understand that everything has its time.
At any moment in our time, there are individuals, families, communities and even countries experiencing some or all of these things mentioned above.
What time is it for you at the moment? If you are living in good times personally and spiritually, then be strengthened and prepared for the next season, because surely it will come. If you are going through a difficult time, then be encouraged because it will have its season and its close. God uses the times and seasons in our lives to test us, train us, and prepare us for what is coming next.
One thing you can be sure of, whatever time you think it is for you, the Lord has a plan for your life, and you are alive today because God wants it that way (read Psalm 139 to be reassured). He knows where you are living, what you are doing or not doing, who is around you, and it is more than probable that God has put you right there.
You are Living in Your Time
What time are you living in? I want to say, you are living in your time; the time for you. God's plan is that you are alive now to help fulfill His purposes on the earth. Yes, our seasons of life change, but Jesus' Words don't. He still says to his followers, "Go in My name and make disciples" (see Matt. 28:19). He still tells us to heal the sick, cast out demons and speak in other tongues (see Mark 16:16-18). He still invites us, as he did Peter, to get out of the boat (see Matt. 14:29).
Maybe you don't agree; maybe you are thinking: "The Lord says, 'Be still and know that I am God,'" and of course you are right, but that time of being still will pass as well. And even if we are being still, then we must still pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17), for those who treat us poorly (Luke 6:28), for those in authority (1 Tim. 2:2), and many, many more.
Maybe your argument is that you are a nobody who can do nothing worthwhile. Maybe the circumstances of your birth are nothing to be proud of. Please understand that the God who is outside time as we know it does not sit and scratch His head and say, "Oh dear, another baby! What are we going to do with that one; we need to rewrite the plan for humanity!"
My friend, you are not a nobody, you are not an accident. You are important in God's Kingdom. God wants you here, now, today. You are not here because somewhere in your family line a contraceptive pill was forgotten or someone drank too much, or someone was abused. You are not here because way back in the generations something secret happened in a hidden place. No! You are here today because God has a plan for your life. Just look back through two or three generations, and see what lengths God went to to secure your birth.
In my own life here in western Europe, my parents and grandparents survived two world wars. My paternal grandfather, in the first year of his marriage, had a very serious accident in a stone quarry blast. This took his sight, but his life was preserved. By chance? No, the will of God for a future generation. My maternal grandfather survived many accidents working in a coal mine. Was he just very lucky? No. God wanted him to give life to my mother, so that I and my children and my grandchildren would be born. I haven't mentioned plane crashes, road accidents, natural disasters, and all the other dangers God protects us from in order to fulfill His purposes.
What times are these? They are your times, they are my times. It is time for us to be the people God is calling us to be. Let's do it in His strength, in His name, and in His time.
Anne Elmer wrote the Elijah List best-seller, Transported by the Lion of Judah. She lives in France with her husband, Malgwyn.