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Summary: We need to embrace life and the human experience with God at our side.

Accepting Life’s Seasons

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-15)

1. She’s only in her 40s, but my friend Mary has bounced back from cancer, heart problems, even a stroke. Through it all, she and her husband, Mark, have kept their sense of humor. One day she said, “You know what kills me … ?”

Smiling, Mark teased, “Apparently nothing.” [Reader’s Digest].

2. Life is certainly a mixture of good times and bad times, unrealized dreams and sometimes things so wonderful we haven’t even dreamed of them.

3. It takes years for us to begin to understand what it means to be human, and some people are more comfortable with their humanity than others. What really is a normal person, if such a being exists?

4. By nature, some of us roll with the punches and some of punch the rolls. But we are all better off to learn to accept what we cannot change and to anticipate that many of the kind of things that happen to others are likely to happen in our lives.

5. Life is too big for us. We need a big God to help us navigate through the waters.

Main Idea: We need to embrace life and the human experience with God at our side.

I. Do Not Deny the Reality of Life’s Varied Experiences, But ANTICIPATE Them (1-8).

A. We see fourteen sets of opposites, thus including things BETWEEN.

1. In rhetoric, a merism is the combination of two contrasting words to refer to an entirety; the positive is balanced by the negative. Verses 1 is an introduction and verse 11a is the conclusion of this poetic section. [read]

2. Is our text saying everything that happens to us is predestined? If everything is predestined, the people would not point out particular things.

3. Doris Day was famous for singing a song, “Que Sera Sear.” Whatever will be will be. We call such an approach to life “fatalism.”

4. This is not the attitude we see in the Bible. Take Ezra, Nehemiah, and military security. Ezra was told he could lead a contingent of Jews back to Jerusalem…. Nehemiah asked for military protection…

5. Everything is, however, under God’s control, and He either causes or allows this entire list. He has ordained that life consists of these sorts of things.

B. God has ordained that mankind typically experience MULTIPLE seasons of life.

1. God created the world as good, because of sin He cursed the world, and our lives reflect both what remains of the good and the effects of the curse.

2. Jesus died to save us from sin, but His death is also the basis for the curse being removed in the New Heaven and New Earth.

3. Coming to know the Lord does not exempt us from the lifelong effects of the curse; our souls are redeemed already, our bodies later.

4. We tend to feel an inflated weight with our burdens; we tend to let loss take us down 10 notches, while gains bring us up one. Fail to realize Blessings!

C. We experience MOST of the things Solomon describes (1-8)

1. a four year old child asks over 400 questions a day

2. the average person over 50 will have spent one year looking for lost items (16 minutes a day, about 2 hours a week)

3. the average person speaks about 31,500 words per day

4. We are to enjoy the good times and endure the bad, not let the threat of bad times rob us of the good times…

5. But what about the hard times? No place for pain?

II. We Can Live for and with the Lord Even If We Do Not Understand ALL His Ways (9-15).

A. We can understand a lot more about God than some people THINK.

B. Superficially, it may appear that God is giving us purposeless BUSYWORK (9-10)

• Pastoral Theology at MBI. Seemed like busywork.

Romans 8:29, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

C. Nonetheless, life is divinely ORGANIZED (11a)

James 4:13, 15, “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit…Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”

Question: Does God do everything that is positive, and the devil everything that we consider negative? A: God uses even Satan. He often uses the negative to create the positive. In the long term, everything God does is what we might call positive.

D. He created us with the INSTINCT that we have an ETERNAL purpose, despite the fact that we are often PERPLEXED.

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