This past week, Winter packed his bags and went north while Spring was setting up her lounge chair to enjoy the blooming of cherry blossoms and the busy work of carpenter bees.
It was not hard to miss the fact that she was still wearing her heavy coat.
I saw her just the other day, in fact. She was watering my weeds (somehow missing my grass), and when she looked my way, she held up her hands as if to ask, “What gives?”
Although this week’s weather has caused all of us to ask “What gives?”, acute readers of the Bible will remember that the author of Ecclesiastes mentioned that, “for everything there is a season” (3:1), no matter the time of year.
The weather may ebb and flow, but the consistency of God’s creative order and march of time is quite predictable.
That is the message of Ecclesiastes in a nutshell: God has created an orderly universe; we are a small part of that universe; we should not take anything for granted. And, although much of what we do is “vanity of vanities,” God still calls us–in season and out–to “love and enjoy God forever,” as one catechism so eloquently puts it.
We face uncertain times and we are vexed by the hardships of life, but God still gives us breath for a new day, allows the sun to rise, and nourishes the earth by sending rain on the wicked and righteous alike.
One of my habits is to walk at night. I like to walk when the sky is clear and the moon is absent. The stars flicker and dance; constellations take shape.
I am awed at the heavens and earth that God has created, and I am often humbled by its grandeur too. My complaints about life become as small as I feel when I find myself under that large dome of a sky.
Yet, the vastness of sky threatens to drown out my little life. Who am I that I might make a difference in our world today? How will I be remembered once my life passes like the breath that I am?
Ecclesiastes gives this advice to those who wonder the same thing: “There is nothing better for mortals than to eat and drink, and find enjoyment in their toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God; for apart from God who can eat or who can have enjoyment” (2:24-25)?
Joy is not the same as happiness. When we get consumed by caregiving, we may not be the happiest people around, but those of us who trust in the Lord and fix our eyes upon Him can be filled with joy.
To me, joy is similar to contentment. The Lord has given us life and visits us every day. We get to talk to the very same God who is larger than our universe and even time itself.
We should, therefore, be content wherever God puts us as long as that place is a safe environment.
In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul encouraged his readers to pursue contentment:
“Concerning the times and the seasons,” he wrote, “See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God” (5:1, 15-18).
As Spring gets ready to really make herself at home, consider joining the birds and the bees in singing a new song for a new day because God is always with us.
I like the hope of one senior citizen I met recently, who says: “If I can stand on my feet and fill my lungs with air in the morning, I know that I will have a good day.”