From the Pastor’s Desk: Rev. Simon Lee

Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,

In His time, in His time,
He makes all things beautiful in His time.
Lord, please show me every day,
as You’re teaching me Your way,
that You do just what You say, in Your time.

The lovely song, “In His time,” was written in 1978 by Diane Ball, when she was a busy mother of 4 children ages 10-14, trying to juggle many things in her life. She was a camp director of a conference center in northern California. On one occasion she was behind in attending her scheduled luncheon speaking engagement which was to start at noon, all because her husband was busy till 11 am. Being a perfectionist, she was furious and asked God to give her peace. The words of Ecclesiastes 3:11 came to her” “He makes all things beautiful – in His time.” Amazingly she was able to finish writing the song before she arrived. Not only that, the luncheon was also delayed, and she and her family arrived just in time … in His time!

I too am a planner and a very impatient person, and I often get very frustrated when things do not go according to plan for no reason. This song reminds me that we need to trust God’s timing for when things seem to go wrong, and we are anxious and frustrated. For nearly two years during the COVID pandemic, my patience has been pushed to the limit so many times. Most recently the test comes in the plan and the timing for “Return to Church” for worship. We keep having to adjust our plans for the last three months, up until announcement time. I am learning that while it is true that if we fail to plan, we plan to fail; it is also equally true that while we, as humans, plan it is God who brings realization of our plan, in His time. It is a hard lesson!

Re-examining the text from which this song come from (Ecclesiastes 3:1-13), I would like to share some thoughts I have been able to glean from the passage. First of all, the main theme is set out in the first verse:

For everything there is a season,

and a time for every matter under heaven. (ESV)

You may be interested to note according to biblical scholars, verse 1 is arranged in an ABB’A’ chiasm, which simply mean parallel elements are arranged like a mirror. Verse 1 is arranged as:

“for everything” (A); “a season” (Hb. zeman) (B);

a time” (B’) (Hb. ‘et); “for every matter” (A’).

The terms “season” and “time” are parallel. In light of the parallelism with “every matter”, the term “everything” must refer to every event or situation in life. The NET Bible translate the verse as:

For everything there is an appointed time,

and an appropriate time for every activity on earth. (NET)

Exploring further in Scriptures, “a season” (Hb. zeman) or “an appointed (designated) time” was used in the context of the appointed or designated time for the Jewish feasts (Esth. 9:27, 31) or the length of time (duration) for Nehemiah set for his absence from Susa (Neh. 2:6). The word is related to the noun for “plan or intention” (Job 17:11) and the noun for “purpose, plan, project” as in “the purpose of God” (Job 42:2; Jer. 23:20; 30:24; 51:11) and man’s plan (Isa. 5:12).

Also, “a time” (Hb. ‘et, a point in time) or “an appropriate time” has a two-fold range of meanings: (1) time of an event) and (2) time for an event. The latter has a range of usage such as ‘the usual time’, “the proper, suitable or appropriate time”, “an uncertain time” (Eccl. 9:11), as for example, “the time for rain” (Ezra 10:13); “the time for harvest.” (Hos. 2:11; Ps 104:27)

From the context of Ecclesiastes 3, I believe the thesis of Eccl. 3:1 may be understood as “There is an appointed time (from God) for everything, and “an appropriate time” (for man or woman to act accordingly) in (his or her) every activity (desire or delight). Simply put, in everything, God has His appointed time, and it will be done in an appropriate time (sovereignly through His human agent).

Rev. Warren Wiersbe summarizes the theme this way:

In fourteen statements, Solomon affirmed that God is at work in our individual lives, seeking to accomplish His will. All of these events come from God, and they are good in their time. The inference is plain: If we cooperate with God’s timing, life will not be meaningless. Everything will be “beautiful in his time” (v. 11), even the most difficult experiences of life.

In His time, in His time,
He makes all things beautiful in His time.    (To be continued)

Your servant in Christ,

Rev. Simon Lee