Most of us who listen to gospel music or attend church would have either heard of or sang along to the popular hymn “In His Time“. It was originally written and sung by Diane Bell. The lyrics are based on the verse from Ecclesiastes 3:11, “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.” The entire chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes has beautiful concepts regarding time, God-given tasks and the prevalence of injustice as well as the final judgement by God. During difficult and busy times, or through injustice and even sorrows, the words of this chapter have always comforted me.
Starting from the verses of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; these words give importance to every activity and every emotion of man’s body, mind and soul. Every action has its own time, every growth happens in their allotted time and every word will be said as per its’ time. There is time for fun and gaiety as well as time for sorrow and forgiveness. There is a time for struggle as well as joy. Even birth and death will happen in their time as well as love and leisure. In short, everything has its’ own time.
3 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. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
As we read on, the futility of man’s attempts to gain from his toil as well as his mortality is asserted. In fact his very gains are gifts from God and whatever God has done, nothing can be added or subtracted for even the past will be accounted for. In fact, the words show that the best man can do in his allotted time is to be happy and do good.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 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. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. 15 Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account. (Ecclesiastes 3:9-15)
16 And I saw something else under the sun: In the place of judgment—wickedness was there, in the place of justice—wickedness was there. 17 I said to myself, “God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” 18 I also said to myself, “As for humans, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals. 19 Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals. Everything is meaningless. 20 All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return. 21 Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” 22 So I saw that there is nothing better for a person than to enjoy their work, because that is their lot. For who can bring them to see what will happen after them? (Ecclesiastes 3:16-22) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.