Ecclesiastes 1, 2, 3; Acts 9:1-22

Deep in the ugly, it was hard to see beauty. A weekly list of thanksgiving (my own list, for even the smallest things: heart-shaped clover, a child’s hand to hold, a good cup of coffee, socks on my feet) kept me afloat when bigger things in life tossed me (losses of expectation and friendship, a death in the family, a move). In Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes of chasing the wind, but that summer, my hands grasped tightly to clutch at vapor: time–moments so full … and fleeting.

I read over familiar verses in a time for everything, and it starts to make more sense: that time of life in loss, that sadness I couldn’t hurry. A season. A time to grieve. I wished it was shorter. I wished it didn’t hurt so much. I wondered how long it would last.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. Ecclesiastes 3:11s NLT.

It lingered much longer than a summer. Oh, deep in the ugly, it was hard to see beauty.

He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11b.

Saul started out a devout hater of Jesus Christ and anyone whose heart loved the Lord.

Meanwhile, Saul was uttering threats with every breath and was eager to kill the Lord’s followers. Acts 9:1.

I wondered over the connection of these verses in Old Testament and New Testament, side by side.

But the Lord said, “Go, for Saul is my chosen instrument to take my message to the Gentiles and to kings, as well as to the people of Israel. Acts 9:15.

And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!” All who heard him were amazed. Acts 9:20-21.

And I saw: the time to hate, the time to love. God wasn’t absent from any before to after–he was always there. And I review the list again, living/dying, planting/harvesting, killing/healing, tearing down/building up, crying/laughing, grieving … dancing. So much more. He is present in all the seasons, makes the same things happen over and over–a whole scope of His work from beginning to end.

Father God, I cannot see the scope of your work from beginning to end. In the midst of my All That (whew!) thanks of little things represented for me the beauty of a much bigger thing: seeking daily to find your love scattered around me–and you never let me down. The toughest moments, you were there. You didn’t forsake me or leave me. So thankful, Lord. That dark season brought me closer to you than I had ever been.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Acts, Bible in a year reading plan, Ecclesiastes, New Testament, Old Testament

2 responses to “Ecclesiastes 1, 2, 3; Acts 9:1-22

  1. I am fairly miserable at waiting, especially during difficult times. I want whatever it is over yesterday. Hopefully, with age, I am learning to rush less and enjoy the company of God more during those waiting times. It does seem that God does His most obvious work during those seasons of waiting, but it’s only afterwards, looking back that I see His hand at work. Just why is that? I am over 50 now and I am still that little girl in the back seat of the station wagon asking, “How much longer til we get there?”

  2. When it is dark, I see God more clearly, probably because I stop to really search for Him. And I’m quiet because I long to hear His voice. And I reach out, hoping for His kind touch that will restore me to safety. Funny thing is that I can create that darkness anytime of my own choosing, let alone the unexpected harm sent from the world. I wonder if that is how I remain close – by viewing the world as a dangerous place. Probably so, but it takes me back to God each time.

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