For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven….God has made everything beautiful for its own time.
King Solomon was very wise and picked up on some things that we are still trying to figure out today. In Ecclesiastes 3 he writes about the struggle of the good and bad in life. It seems like there is a time for everything and we cannot escape it. He says, there is a time for life and a time for death. A time for pain and a time for healing. A time to mourn and a time to celebrate. He covers a lot. Plainly put – life isn’t easy. It is full of beautiful and it is full of ugly. The trick – paying more attention to the beautiful than to the ugly.
One thing that strikes me in Solomon’s struggle is the way he just lumps everything together. There is no clear timeline, not clear delineation between the good things he lists and the bad things. It just all seems to be jumbled up together. When life gets messy like that it gets really hard to see the beauty in it. The tragic and painful always seem to overshadow the good. So, while we are in the tragic, we often find ourselves looking off into the future for the good to come. Its easy to get frustrated and stuck when we do that. Just sitting in the mess, waiting. Maybe even convinced better isn’t coming.
Solomon, however, is quick to point something out. He says, “God has made everything beautiful for its own time.” The way I understand that is in the midst of every season we can find beauty. Even if we are in the season of pain, death, lose, or mourning. Even in those times there is beauty – a beauty that God is there, present, and at work. God makes everything beautiful – even the most tragic and ugly.
God has been at work since Genesis 1 bringing beauty out of darkness. At creation God took nothing and made it into something. It wasn’t just something – it was good. It was perfect. God took darkness and void and made it beautiful. If we pay close attention we are still able to see that beauty even though evil, sin, as made a mess of it. We see it, because God hasn’t given up on us. He is at work making things good again, making things beautiful. That is what He does.
Jesus proves it. The cross reminds us of it. God sent Jesus to enter into our ugliness and save us. God sent Him here to make us beautiful again. We have this hope that better is coming because Jesus has come, because God entered into the darkness of our world to breath life back into our deadness. He sealed that decision with the cross of Jesus.
God took the most ugly, painful, and feared method of torture and execution of the time and made it into a beautiful symbol of love and forgiveness. The cross today stands as a reminder that God can, and does, bring beauty, from our pain and suffering. God is with you today in whatever you are facing. Trust in Jesus to bring the beauty back. There is a time to be loved, redeemed, and forgiven – thanks to Jesus.
Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
What would you say are the scariest things facing humanity right now? The war in Ukraine? Nuclear war? Are these the things we should fear the most? What would you say is destroying our lives? I am sure we all could come up with a pretty lengthy list of things that are destructive and problems for the world. We would probably agree on almost all of them. Drugs, violence, politics, gas prices, and on and on we could go. But, what if we dig deeper into those things? I think we would find a common thread that runs through them all.
Drugs destroy – but people do them because it takes away pain and gives some momentary comfort. Violence brings about a feeling of vindication or even of protection and safety. We can come up with reasons these things exist – but the terrifying fact about them all, that common thread, is they are all built on lies. Drugs can’t provide true comfort or really bring about any kind of solution to our struggles. Violence doesn’t really do anything but bring about more violence. But, every day millions of people live into these lies and countless others. The biggest and scariest things facing society today is lies.
This battle isn’t new, in fact it is very old. It started in the Garden of Eden and it led to death. Human kind allowed evil into the world when it fell into a lie told by Satan – the father of all lies. Our real enemy, isn’t against people, it is against that serpent of old. His main objective is to destroy us and he knows the best way to go about that is to get us to not just believe lies, but to actually live them.
We all know the best way to counter a lie is with the truth, right? But, how do we find truth and who do we trust to give us the truth? Ultimately, there can only be one truth and His name is Jesus. Jesus came to combat the lies of the enemy with the truth. The amazing thing is he didn’t just come to tell the truth, He came to embody truth. Jesus came and made truth personal. He made it possible for us to live in truth by living in relationship with Him.
In John 8 Jesus has a very upfront conversation with some Jews (some believing and some not believing). To the ones that were not believing He told them they were of their father, the devil. They had no room in their hearts for His truth because they were too caught up in living the lies the devil had told them. If they ever really wanted to live free and know truth, they would have to become a part of God’s family.
Today, the same is true for us. If we want to live in freedom and not live in bondage to the life destroying lies of the enemy then we need to come to know and surrender our lives to Jesus. We need to ask God to clean our heart of the lies so He can fill it with His truth. Living that truth is much better than living any lie!
Live in the truth of Jesus today and experience freedom!
Pastor Matt Huff leads Portland Central Nazarene Church. He loves being in ministry and seeing lives transformed by the power of Christ.