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 pluck up what is planted; 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 cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; 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 sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (ESV)
Wise is the man who can discern the times. If we do the right thing but at the wrong time, it is as good as doing the wrong thing. Gardeners know this. Some times are easy to discern. Nobody questions there is a time to be born and a time to die, nor that there is a time to weep and a time to laugh. The NIV talks about “a time to search and a time to give up.” (verse 6) How do we know when it is time to search and a time to give up? Who gives the order for the search party to leave?
I battle with knowing when it is time to keep silent and when it is time to speak. I suppose that is where the gift of wisdom comes in.
I would never have thought that a time would come to refrain from embracing. Yet during Covid, that was the right thing to do. Our church had a sign up:- “No handshakes. Fist bumps or elbow bumps only.”
When I was a little girl, I learned the basic rules of hygiene. Flush the toilet every time you use it, wash your hands after you’ve been to the toilet, touched an animal or played outside in the sand. You must bath or shower once a day and brush your teeth three times a day.
We’ve been to Port Elizabeth on a number of occasions during a 10-year drought. Then the rules changed. “Shower every second day (5 minutes only.)” “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down.” The situation had changed and so the right thing to do had changed.
Life changes so fast that we can’t always be sure that what we think is the right thing is still the right thing.
Let’s lean fully on God who is never late, never early, but always on time.
God of all time, Please keep me close to You and give me Your wisdom to know when it is the right time to do what. Give me the graciousness to accept others whose view of time is different to mine. Amen.