Beautiful In Its Time

by Melinda Viergever Inman

                                                        There is a time for everything,
                                       and a season for every activity under the heavens:
                                                    a time to be born and a time to die,
                                                    a time to plant and a time to uproot”
                                                              (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NIV).

Graduation season is upon us. Landmark achievements are noted and celebrated. Years of schooling are recognized. Children grow up—another year older, another grade in school. Whether preschool or college, movement occurs, shifting the structure of our families. Time marches on.

These are bittersweet times, for the growth of children is delightful and full of joy; yet looming ahead is the day when they fly the nest, and then, they’re gone. People who have already raised their families tell younger parents to enjoy these crazy, busy, exhausting days of raising children, for they will fly by. And then, one day we discover that this is true. They do.

This year, we mark a grandchild graduating from high school, another moving up to middle school, one a fledgling newly licensed pilot, and our youngest child marrying then wrapping up her master’s degree. Transitions all. The days did indeed fly by. Yesterday, they were infants in arms. Those were “the good ol’ days.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to recognize “the good ol’ days” when they’re happening. We may be right in the middle of them, even though they feel chaotic and our lives out of kilter.

But isn’t wherever God currently has us beautiful? Aren’t these all “the good ol’ days”?

“He 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” (Ecclesiastes 3:11-13 NIV).

Each season is beautiful in its time—the raising of children, the launching of children. The joy of laughing with your baby as he/she learns to walk, the delight of smiling into the eyes of your new graduate or your newly married child. All of these moments are beautiful.

And then, the quiet of your home—now empty when once full of noise, chaos, bickering, and soccer balls knocking pictures off walls—leaves you feeling uprooted and not quite sure what to do with yourself next. But, all are beautiful, the noise, the uprooting, and now the quiet as well.

Each occurs during a different season. There is a time for every activity, a season for delighting in our infants, a season for rejoicing with our young adults, a season for two of us alone together, and even the coming season when one may survive the other, leaving one widowed.

Can we rejoice in the season God has given at this moment? Can we delight in what is occurring right now? Can we give thanks whether we’ve been uprooted, or we’ve been planted, whether we celebrate birth or mourn a home-going? Can we bask in the current season? This moment is the time we’ve been given. This, right here, right now, is the gift of God.

None of us can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. It’s often not until it’s all over that we even begin to understand it the slightest bit. In the meantime, the Lord wants us to be happy and to do good while we still have days on this earth. There is nothing better.

Find satisfaction in your hard work. Eat, drink, and give thanks to God for what you have, what you’ve lost, and whatever the future holds. Thank him for who you have with you, who departs, and who has gone on ahead of you. The Lord is with you now and on the other side. Give thanks!

Melinda Inman—wife of Tim, matriarch of a multitude, and a member of Crossings Community Church—writes fiction and has published a weekly blog since 2011. Find it all here.  

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