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A Time For Every Matter Under Heaven- Charles Lewis

A Time For Every Matter Under Heaven

For many of us, the exhaustion is starting to set in. We are tired.

We are tired of the endless news cycle and trying to keep up with all of the latest developments as more information is being made available.

We are tired of mourning lives and livelihoods lost on a personal, local, national and global level.

We are tired in our bodies as we adjust to working from home and staying engaged with our families - feeling as if there are not enough hours in the day to be a good parent and a good employee.

As informational, emotional and physical exhaustion become more prevalent, it’s natural to want to throw in the towel. To just say “I’m done with all of this.”

Today, I want to offer us three things. An encouragement, an observation, and an invitation.

First, what I want to encourage us that it is okay to be tired. We are human – both fallen and finite. There is no shame in being tired. Our good and gracious Father gave us a Sabbath for a reason.

Second, I want to offer us an observation. It seems to me that a lot of our exhaustion is tied to time. In many ways, we would expect that since we are homebound we would have more time on our hands, not less. Yet we still feel as if we don’t have enough.

We don’t have enough time to keep up with the constant news cycle. We don’t have enough time to mourn all that there is to mourn, because there is a lot. And we do not have enough time to give our bodies a break, because deadlines still exist and we have to be engaged parents at seemingly every minute of our children’s waken hours.

There’s nothing wrong with being finite, but we feel our finitude in a unique way during this season because we just don’t feel like there’s enough time to do this coronavirus thing well. I get that.

Which leads to the third thing I want to offer to us to: an invitation. I want to invite us to embrace the gift of our finitude by leaning on the infinite God of the universe. Our God is not bothered by time. He has set a time for everything. We see as much in Ecclesiastes 3. It reads…

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

2  a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
3  a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4  a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5  a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6  a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7  a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8  a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Before the writer begins this beautiful poem, he very pointedly makes the claim that there is a time for “every matter under the heaven.”

By including “under heaven” the writer is making it very clear that every earthly occurrence is divinely appointed.

And that is good news for us, because that includes our salvation.

The God of the universe who exists outside of space and time sovereignly chose you in Christ before the foundation of world because he set his love upon you.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,    even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love   he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” – Ephesians 1:3-5

The God of the universe who exists outside of space and time, sovereignly determined the time in which he would enter time and space to rescue you…

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Galatians 4:4-5

The God of the universe who exists outside of space and time, sovereignly determined the time when Christ would die for us…

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” – Romans 5:6

And the God of the universe who exists outside of space and time sovereignly determined the time when Christ would rise for us.

“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”- Matthew 16:21

Our salvation is not happenchance. God didn’t just wake up one day and say “Hey, I’m feeling generous. I guess it would be nice to go save some sinners. It would really boost my approval rating.”

No. Generosity, joy, and love are core to who God is. And God, being so full of generosity, so full of joy, so full of love, wanted to share it all with us. So in his infinite wisdom and infinite power, with the utmost care and utmost precision, he ordered a plan to do just that.

Our salvation is not by accident. It wasn’t a fluke. It didn’t happen on a whim.

And it had to happen just as our God ordered it to happen. Jesus had to enter space and time to live the life we could not live and die the death we deserved because there is not a long enough timeline in which we could erase our sin.

If God gave us an eternity to do enough good deeds to pay off our sin, there still wouldn’t be enough time. You could spend the rest of forever trying to get that stain off, and it would have no effect. It had to be purified and restored by the precious blood of Jesus Christ and the precious blood of Jesus Christ alone.

And God made it happen. God ordered it to happen, in its time.

Friends, if you are feeling like there is not enough time to soak up all this information, you are right – there isn’t. If you are feeling like there is not enough time to mourn all there is to mourn, you are right – there isn’t. And if you feel like there is not enough time to do your work and stay fully engaged with your kids, you are right – there isn’t.

You can’t know it all. You can’t mourn it all. You can’t do it all. You were never meant to. It’s not what you were created for.

But you were created rest on the everlasting arms of the one who knows all things perfectly, mourns all things perfectly, and does all things perfectly. Come to him and he will give you rest.

Our invitation is to live out our need of him every second of every minute of every hour of every day. To rest in his love. And as we do so, he will reveal to us that which we need to know, that which we need to mourn, and that which we need to do as he has ordered our steps and leads us in paths of righteousness in and by his power for his namesake.

There is a time for every matter under heaven. God has appointed this time for you. And if God was faithful to rescue you to himself at the appointed time, then we can trust that he is faithful to give you the strength, the endurance, and the rest you need for this appointed time.

Charles Lewis is a pastoral resident at the Northside Church of Richmond and has been with the church since August 2019. He is currently finishing his Masters of Arts in Biblical Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary and plans to be ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America. In his free time he enjoys keeping up with Philadelphia sports, listening to vinyl records and hanging out at breweries and coffee shops.


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