There is a Season….
There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens… A time to weep and a time to laugh. Ecclesiastes 3:1,4.
We live in strange times. The reality of COVID-19 and all of its ramifications have turned our world upside down. Sometimes we’re left not knowing how to feel. What is the “right” way to feel during a crisis that impacts us in so many ways?
While schools are closed down, families are spending more time with each other. While some people are navigating a job loss, others are seeing a new job or additional hours at work. While people living on retirement are seeing their 401k’s sharply reduced, others are happy to see stocks “on sale.” So what is the “right” way to respond?
As I was thinking about this question, I was drawn to the Book of Ecclesiastes. This book was written by King Solomon towards the end of his life. King Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. He wrote many of the Proverbs, sharing his wisdom regarding practical, day to day concerns with living out our faith. As a younger man, Solomon wrote confidently about how the world works and how to succeed. As an older man, Solomon is able to combine his wisdom with experience. He had many opportunities to evaluate wisdom through the lens of reality. From the vantage point of hindsight, he looks back on his life and shares his thoughts with us. He writes this: There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens… A time to weep and a time to laugh. Ecclesiastes 3:1,4.
Solomon sees the appropriateness of different emotions through different events. God gives us freedom, to be honest with our emotions and feelings and not feel guilty about them. Just as COVID-19 has not affected any two people in identical ways, our responses to COVID-19 will not be identical.
Some may have cause for great mourning, especially if they have lost a family member or friend. Some may have cause to mourn because they have lost their job. God gives us the freedom to honestly mourn. If you are in a season of mourning right now, God mourns with you and calls the church to do the same (Romans 12:15).
Some may have cause for rejoicing. Maybe a family member recovered from sickness. Maybe you are able to work more now, or was even hired for a new job. If you are in a season of rejoicing right now, rejoice. God rejoices with you and calls the church to do the same (again, Romans 12:15).
Just remember that while we have the freedom to honestly feel our emotions, we love others best by empathizing with them. If you are in a season of rejoicing, but a friend is in a season of mourning, mourn with them. If you are in a season of mourning, but a friend is in a season of rejoicing, rejoice with them. Loving others best means we seek to identify with their emotions and come alongside them as well.
Through it all, God is with us. We do not have to pretend to feel one way when we really don’t. If you are scared, be honest with yourself and God. Pray and tell him about your fear. If you’re thankful, be honest with yourself and God.
When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future. Ecclesiastes 7:14.
No matter what happens, God is still God. He is still sovereign. He is still in control. Remember the Psalmist: Be still and know that I am God Psalm 46:10a.