God has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.
It has been said that life is like a roll of toilet paper. The closer it gets to the end, the faster it goes. Einstein was surely right in saying that time is relative. I know that times goes a lot faster for me than it does for my grandkid. Time is a quirky thing. Saint Augustine said that he knew what time was until someone asked him to explain it (Confessions, Book xi). And we all relate to time differently. Musicians mark time. Referees call time. Prisoners serve time. Historians record time. Statisticians record time. Some people waste time. Some people fear time.
But another passing of old Father time and the birth of Baby New Year call for paying attention. The Genesis creation story says that God created the sun and moon “for signs and for seasons and for days and years” (Genesis 1:14). God intends every sunrise and sunset to say, “Snap to attention!” The psalmist even prays for God to “teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart” (Psalm 90:12).
How wonderful and refreshing to read Solomon’s words in today’s scripture assuring us: “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” The “time” Solomon has in mind is all the “time” he wrote about earlier: “a time to be born, and a time to die…a time to weep, and a time to laugh…a time to mourn, and a time to dance”. That means God, the Master-Artist, makes all things beautiful in their time. He works all things together for His good and great purpose for us (Romans 8:28). For God, there is a right and beautiful time for everything He does, for every purpose under His heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1), even in times of pandemic and upheaval (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
We are creatures made in God’s image, designed for eternity, yet embedded in time. That means we cannot “fathom what God has done from beginning to end”; we cannot yet see God’s big picture and how he really does make everything beautiful in its time. But we trust Him. Oxford scholar and popular writer C. S. Lewis wisely says:
“You cannot in your present state understand eternity…That is what mortals cannot understand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it’, not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.”(The Great Divorce)
As we wait for the consummation of all things, what does God want us to do? Solomon is quick to answer: “I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.” Solomon’s counsel for the meantime is that people “eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil – this is the gift of God.” So, let us find satisfaction in the coming year: this is God’s gift to us. God does have everything in hand!
A Fellow Traveler,