Ecclesiastes chapter 3 says:
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
This passage speaks to me right where I am right now. In my life, I have seen some good times and bad. Seasons of plenty and seasons of want. Times of great joy and times of great sorrow. You get the idea. However, it would seem to my carnal, human mind that the last few years have held nothing but sorrow, betrayal, and grief. I feel as if I have been in a season of mourning for far too long.
I mourn so many things-the loss of my brother, 42, to cancer, seems the most tangible loss. One day he was here, and I could see him and talk to him. I was able to hold his hand while he waited for the end to come. To sing to him and pray with him. To reminisce about good times in our lives. And the next day he was gone. Gone. That was nearly a year ago, and still I can’t get the image of him on the very last day out of my mind. His passing wasn’t quick and painless, it was long and drawn out. With plenty of pain and suffering. But I thank God for every minute with him. For the opportunity to be there. There were some very special moments with my brother that I know were God ordained. I’m so thankful for them and will never forget those moments. I hold on to those memories when I can no longer hold his hand.
It’s been almost a year. I think the thing that hurts the most is that we will never get to talk again. I can’t call him. We were close in age, just 15 months apart, so to imagine spending the rest of my life without him…it’s just surreal. He was 42. I have a long life left to live (I hope) and I have to do it without him. I feel almost as if he was my twin, and now a real part of me is missing.
He’s not the only thing I mourn, though. I mourn lost friendships and betrayals. You see, my husband is a pastor. Well, was a pastor. When you pastor a church, people come into your life and you get to know them. You love them. You pray for them, with them. You befriend them. And sometimes, they just leave. Sometimes they have a reason to leave. But sometimes they just leave as if you were not anyone significant in their life. Sometimes they give an explanation. Sometimes they don’t. They just leave. You invest your heart in a friendship, and sometimes you will be betrayed. When you invest your whole self into a friendship and that person lies to you and stabs you in the back, it hurts. It’s shocking. Especially when you know in your heart that you did nothing wrong. It’s inexplicable.
But, I know that we are all human, and we fail each other. I have failed people in my life. That’s something to mourn as well. When I fail, when I let someone down and I can’t do anything to change it. I can’t turn back time and it doesn’t matter what my intentions were. I failed. I didn’t love enough, I didn’t DO enough. I got too caught up in my own troubles to see that others needed my time and encouragement. I mourn the loss of special relationships due to my own failure.
I mourn broken dreams. I never imagined that I would be where I am today. I had dreams for myself, for my husband, for my children, and those dreams seem to be shattering like glass at my feet. My plans have fallen apart. Nothing seems to be coming together. And now I find myself in a place where I am afraid to make a move, for fear that I will shatter myself. I fear making a move forward because I just don’t have the confidence to make the right decision. To follow the correct path. If I move, if I make a decision, and it’s the wrong one, what will happen? You know, they say when you are at the bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up. But what if that’s not true? What if you can sink lower than you already are? What if the ground falls apart beneath you?
I feel like a deer caught in the headlights. I’m stuck. I don’t know whether to remain still and pray that I don’t get run over, or run like hell. So, I’m stuck. And I’m scared. Really scared.
But in the midst of all of my troubles, I DO know that God is with me. Sometimes, I don’t feel his presence. But that doesn’t mean he’s not there. In fact, his word tells me that he is:
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
It’s wonderful to know that no matter what, God walks with us. He’s there in the valley, holding your hand until you can go no further on your own. Then you surrender to him and he carries you. Sometimes he just waits for us to surrender. We can do nothing without him, so if you’re going through a trial in your life, why not surrender right now? Why carry it when you don’t have to? Just let it go. Release it all unto him and see what amazing things God can do.
I’m so glad that God is with is in every season in our lives. I think we must experience all of these seasons, so we will know that he is with us always, and that we may realize that we need him in good times and in bad.
We also need each other. It’s wonderful to know that God is there. But sometimes we need someone to be there. To hold up our arms, like Moses:
8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. 9 Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
10 So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. 11 As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.
As long as Aaron and Hur held Moses’ hands, the battle went well. I think it’s the same for us, stuck here on earth to fight our own battles. We sometimes get weary in well doing. We can no longer hold up our hands and fight. We need someone to hold up our hands. The wonderful part is that we DON’T have to fight alone. When we no longer have the strength to stand, the Lord will fight for us.
The Lord will fight for you. You need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
His word is clear. If we would just be still–stop our fussing, worrying, fretting–and give up, surrender, He will fight FOR us. So, if you’re fighting a battle, if you’re in a season of your life like mine, be still. BE STILL. And know, that God is God. He is still on the throne. He will fight for you. You need only to be still.
~There’s No Place Like Home