Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

On Faith: Bittersweet seasons

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Life is ever-evolving and ever-changing. It seems as if my own life is moving quickly right now. It might have something to do with the fact that our youngest is an eleventh-grader looking to go away to school after next year. I am excited for him, but I must admit, I do feel a little bittersweet about it.

It might also have to do with the personal responsibilities I find myself dealing with currently, and a feeling of wearing too many hats. And I see so many people my age losing parents and beloved aunts and uncles or other relatives once thought to be invincible. Then, there are the people my own age who are now dealing with illnesses and problems I once associated with ‘‘older” people. Or it could just be that I have been in a rather pensive mood this past week, but whatever it is, it is a fact that yes indeed, life is ever-evolving and ever-changing.

It is going to be February tomorrow and it feels like summer is just around the corner. I feel the world spinning faster and faster.

I take comfort, when it all seems out of control, however, in the words of the Bible. These words remind me that in life there is a time for everything and that it is all in God’s purpose and design. There is a passage just perfect for me when I fall into these contemplative moods.

In Ecclesiastes 3 it is written: ‘‘There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

It seems that the good and the bad, the positive things in our life, along with the negative, have a part in this thing called living. I wonder if we could ever truly appreciate God’s wonderful gifts if we did not have the trials to balance them.

Everything has a time and we will face these times with joy or sorrow, but we never have to face them alone. He is with us.

His sons and daughters who are our brothers and sisters in this world are with us and we are given the gift of grace to live out the seasons of our lives also.

So as the world keeps spinning and as we get older and experience new things, it is wise to keep the words of Ecclesiastes 3 in mind.

We are part of God’s plan and we are promised that His plan only begins here; for the final season is a beautiful one with our Father in heaven.

Ann Thomas Rinker has lived in Mount Airy for more than 20 years and has written for The Gazette for most of that time. She is married to Roger L. Rinker, senior pastor at Calvary Lutheran Church, also in Mount Airy. They have three children. If you would like to respond to her column, e-mail her at