All the Colors

Leaves 1

More than anything else, this image reminds us that things change.  Time marches on. The grains of sand in an hour glass fall painfully slow at times.  Then, when you least expect it, you observe there’s very little sand in the upper globe indicating a “season” of time is almost at an end.  When Fall begins, the same thing is true.  What was green turns to a rainbow array of colors in the trees.  The leaves fall over time, sometimes slowly, other times in a day. Things change.

Depending on whether  you are a “glass-half-full” or “glass-half-empty” sort of person significantly affects your view of this tree, and its many colors.  On a recent trip to Arkansas I had high hopes of catching a view of the fall foliage from Mount Magazine, north of Hot Springs.  I’m sure it would have been a lovely drive, and the view would have been spectacular, were it not for the dense fog encompassing the mountain.  When we arrived at the peak, we could see less than 40 feet in any direction we looked.  Since we were only there for a day, we hoped it would burn off quickly.  The reality is it didn’t, so we left, with a tiny bit of sadness and sense of loss.

I took the photo image above, looking North from my backdoor, on Sunday morning.  It reminded me of the singular truth found in the first 11 verses of Ecclesiastes 3.  “There is an appointed time for everything” (vs.1)… and … “He has made everything appropriate in its time” (vs.11).  In between these two statements are couplets of contrasting thoughts describing almost every aspect of human life on earth.  The dichotomy of living a human existence here on earth is captured in the joy and sorrow juxtaposed in the words, “a time to…”

Give birth vs. die, plant vs. uproot, kill vs. heal, tear down vs. build up.
Weep vs. laugh, mourn vs. dance, thrown stones vs. gather stones.
Embrace vs. shun embracing, search vs. give up as lost, keep vs. throw away.
Tear apart vs. sew together, be silent vs. speak, love vs. hate, war vs. peace.

I really like Eugene Petersen’s “The Message” translation of the Bible for passages like Ecclesiastes.  It is just easier to relate to I guess.  In each of these verses Petersen’s translation begins, “A right time …”  These words help us see that God designed all of these events into the human existence and we really don’t have any control over them. Today, see if you can hear God speak to you through Solomon, in verses 14-15 of The Message.

I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.

Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.

Trusting in Jesus as LORD, in its essence, is knowing these words Solomon wrote are true absolutely.  Proclaiming Jesus as LORD is declaring He is in Control of all things, all the events of my life.  Serving Jesus as LORD requires an understanding and commitment that He is the sole Authority in my life today.  Knowing in fact, that I am alive and serve at His pleasure, whatever may come my way.  The third, and maybe the most awesome truth of declaring Jesus as LORD, is knowing and believing, the Living LORD Jesus is present right now with me.  When one of the “a time to…”-events happens in my life, I am not alone to face them.  Jesus is with me continually.

It’s fall, and the LORD is demonstrating His Creative power in all the colors.  As the blustery North wind blows creating a sea of leaves ripping through the air, do you see Him?  Do you know Him?  Is He LORD of your life today?

Have you heard the one about…

via Heard

Humor is like craft beer and fine wine, not everyone likes the same vintage.  I once heard a young man say, “Man, I’m glad I’m not a cow.” Upon arriving at the ball, I once heard a man say to his golfing partner, who had hit a particularly short drive just slight of the center of the fairway but not very long off the tee box, “Found it!”  Have you heard the one about the nostalgic older woman who said, “Whenever I think about the past, it brings back so many memories.”  duh!  Or the favorite three year-old knock knock joke,

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Interrupting chicken.
Interrupting ch…

See what I mean?  I wonder if there is anyone my age that hasn’t read “Laughter is the best medicine” in Reader’s Digest.  The first one to coin this expression is unknown, but Harry Ward Beecher said, “Mirth is God’s best medicine,” so perhaps that’s the place of origin. Laughing is so much more fun that crying, don’t you think?  I know life is hard, and sometimes circumstances and events just suck.  On the other hand, don’t you think God has a sense of humor?

The wisest man in the world once wrote,

There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven– A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.  A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear 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.
[Ecclesiastes 3:1-4]

I read these words often and think, “Is this some kind of riddle?  Does God have a sense of humor?  Does he laugh every time we read these words and try to make sense out of them in our own life experience?”  It’s like the statement, “Always do whatever’s next.” Is it funny?  Is it a test?  Is it a paradox?  Who knows what’s next?

Now for one of my personal favorites:  Everyone is born crying….some never outgrow it.

This sounds like the whiner left to me.  I want to just say, “someone tell a joke already, and get over yourself.”  The current political climate in our country would be outrageously funny, if it weren’t so horribly sad.  People just don’t know how to play nice any more, lose graciously while planning on the next opportunity, or say “congratulations.” It’s like saying, “My watch is three hours fast, and I can’t fix it.  So I’m going to move to New York.”  None of the rhetoric coming out right now even makes sense.

What would God have us do?  How do we fix this?  Let’s read what Solomon says:

A time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak.
[Ecclesiastes 3:6-7]

I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one’s lifetime; moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor—it is the gift of God.  I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. 
[Ecclesiastes 3:12-14]

It is time to search for a path to healing.  It is time to recognize God’s handiwork.  It is time to realize we can’t have all the answers all the time.  It’s time to laugh at ourselves, eat drink and see good in our labor… that’s God’s gift to us.

I’ll leave you with the one I saw today on the internet… and thought of myself.

I’m writing a book.  I’ve got the page numbers done, so now I just have to fill in the rest.