For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… (Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV)
At the end of chapter 2 the author began to shift his thinking away from the ‘horizontal’ and onto the ‘vertical’; looking for meaning beyond the “vanity” or seeming emptiness of the world.
As chapter 3 opens, he becomes very poetic in a realization that all things have a time and a place; that perhaps there is some order to life, and that existence is not necessarily chaos. The list that follows in verses 2-8 (made culturally famous by the Byrds in the 1965 hit Turn, Turn, Turn written by Pete Seeger) encompasses life from birth to death and all the activities encountered during a person’s span of years. Planting and harvesting; productivity (creating, building up) and destruction (tearing down); love and hate; joy and sorrow; peace and war; friendship and enmity; words and silence—every human experience has a place and a time. Order within ‘chaos’.
God has ordered our days. Paul told the Athenians that the One True God had set the paths for all humanity; ordering their lives (Acts 17:26-28). King David knew that all the days of a person had been pre-ordained by the Lord (Psalm 139:16). Moses prayed that God would enable His people to take a right and wise accounting of their days (Psalm 90:12).
Our lives may at times seem to be out of our control, but they are never out of God’s control. We may not know what each day holds—but the Lord does. As we go through the seasons of our lives we must look to the King of Heaven for the certainty that our times are in His hands and that He can be absolutely trusted with all our days (Psalm 62:8)