To begin with, I wish to make a confession. When it comes to New Year, I am the kind of person who, quite frankly, cannot wait for the old year to end and the new to begin. I was quite happy to bid farewell to 2011, and I look to 2012 as a beacon of hope and possibility.
And yet, as I have adopted this attitude over the past few years, I have found myself vexed that my aspirations for the grand new year seem dashed, and after 364 days, I once again hope for a fresh start and a new year. I know I am not the only person who feels this way.
So, I ask the question, why do I seem stuck in this cycle; why is it I start each year hoping for good things, and end with a half-hearted sense of achievement? Not happy with this, I decided to challenge and deal with this not-very-healthy attitude!
As I was reflecting on this, I was came across this passage in Ecclesiastes 3:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter 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 break down, and a time to build up;
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 from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to mend; a time to keep silent, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
What can we learn from a passage like this? As I have said above, I am challenging the expectation that our fortunes will always improve with time and things will always get better.
Yet, this is not the story in Ecclesiastes. What we read hear is that there is a time for everything; as such we cannot go through our lives expecting good fortune to fall on us at every opportunity.
Instead, we see that everything has a time and season; there is a time to hurt, to tear down, to cast away, to weep or keep silent. Those things which hurt us and upset us are a reality of life which we must face; a reality which we cannot change. But, we can take comfort in two things.
Firstly, Ecclesiastes tells us that, while we must be realistic and know that bad things will happen in our lives, we must also expect good to come. You will no doubt notice the beautiful balance between each of the above statements, with each bad thing comes a good. We are discouraged from expecting only good things will come to us, but are reminded that they do.
But, there is a much more comforting point. This passage tells us that there is a “time for every matter under heaven”. No matter what happens to us in our lives, it is all under the control of the One True God, who resides in Heaven and watches over us and our lives. He knows the troubles we face and the blessings we enjoy, and He is with us through everything.
And, more than that, there is time for every matter. Every single point of any person’s life is carefully considered and monitored by the Almighty God. He is not some distant and uninterested God; He is close, watching and loving His creation with the utmost care.
You may ask, then, if God is in control why do bad things happen? This is not the place to deal with that question; what this passage in Ecclesiastes does is point out the reality that they do happen, along with good things, and ultimately God is in control and with us throughout.
So, if you reach the end of the year and things have not gone as you had hoped, do not despair, instead rejoice. If all your dreams come true, then be glad. Because, no matter what happens to you this year, in 2012, whatever events happen in you life, whether good or bad: GOD is always with YOU!