“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
“There is an appointed time for everything.” These words are followed by the familiar litany of opposites: “A time to give birth, and a time to die … to plant and to uproot … to kill and to heal … to tear down and to build up … to weep and to laugh …” and the list goes on (cf. Ecclesiastes 3:2-8).
We can take one of two approaches as we consider all the events that make up life. On the one hand, we can look at life and say, “Life is always going to have ups and downs. Therefore, since I know that something bad will always follow something good, I’d better not get too comfortable or really throw myself into enjoying the moment, because at some point things are going to get ugly again. I just need to resign myself to that.”
This edges toward a Buddhist attitude: desire nothing, remove emotional attachments, accept life as it comes.
Alternatively, we can look at life and say, “Life is always going to have ups and downs. Therefore, I will enjoy all the good moments that God brings my way thoroughly and completely, with praise and thanksgiving. And when the bad times come, I will accept them, too, as part of life. But I will do so with the knowledge and confidence that God will see me through them with his grace and strength and presence. And at some point, I know things will get better again, so I will praise God even in the dark times.”
That is the Christian attitude: experience the fullness of life, the fullness of humanity, and the fullness of God.
--- Which approach and attitude do you have toward life? Why?
--- How have you tended to react when bad things happen in life?
--- Are you able to fully enjoy the good times in life? Why or why not?