Sometimes I get a song stuck in my head and it lives there for days. Every time I read Ecclesiastes 3, I hear a folk rock song that was released in 1965 by a band called the Byrds. It was called Turn, Turn, Turn and I bet many people were surprised to learn that it comes directly from scripture.
To everything (turn, turn, turn)
There is a season (turn, turn, turn)
And a time to every purpose, under heaven.
Now you can have this song stuck in your head, too!
The timeless wisdom of this passage is meaningful in every circumstance of life. Births, deaths, graduations, weddings, wars, and occasional pandemics are all seasons we can experience in a lifetime. The writer reminds us that with every season, God has a purpose:
Ecclesiastes 3 (Common English Bible)
There’s a season for everything
and a time for every matter under the heavens:
2 a time for giving birth and a time for dying,
a time for planting and a time for uprooting what was planted,
3 a time for killing and a time for healing,
a time for tearing down and a time for building up,
4 a time for crying and a time for laughing,
a time for mourning and a time for dancing,
This is incredibly helpful to remember when you are in a season of sorrow. A friend who recently lost her mother describes it as “sorrow sitting with joy.” If you have experienced the death of a loved one, you know the terrible disorientation that falls over you. When my mother-in-law died, I remember thinking that it was just stupid that she was not in the world with us anymore. It made no sense. It was a big mistake and we just needed it to be fixed. But in time, mourning faded as dancing with happy memories took over. Eventually our season of crying turned into a season of joy when we welcomed her first great-grandchild into our family. A daughter became a mother, a mother became a Nana, a sister became an aunt, and suddenly God restored balance.
5 a time for throwing stones and a time for gathering stones,
a time for embracing and a time for avoiding embraces,
6 a time for searching and a time for losing,
a time for keeping and a time for throwing away,
7 a time for tearing and a time for repairing,
a time for keeping silent and a time for speaking,
8 a time for loving and a time for hating,
a time for war and a time for peace.
We get out of balance when we forget that everything has a purpose under the heavens. Your life was designed for something meaningful and long-lasting. What will your legacy be? Do you live according to God’s purpose? Or have you lost your way and somehow wandered into a meandering, pointlessness existence?
When I have gone through seasons of wandering, I have found it helpful to immerse myself in daily scripture reading and prayer until I found my way home. The Psalms are especially helpful for wilderness walking and if you read one a day, you’ll have 150 chances to discover yourself again.
Whatever season you are in right now, turn, turn, turn back to your purpose. No season lasts forever, but God has a call on your life in every season. Turn around and listen, and God will remind you.