Phil Bell is retired pastor from the University Baptist church in Macomb, Illinois. He had a massive ischemic stroke January 4, 2012. He still writes articles every couple of months in the local newspaper under the Street & Steeple section. That is a place where local pastors contribute every week in rotation.
----------------------------------------------------------------------By Phil Bell
It has been announced that the former LaMoine Hotel building has been converted into an extended care facility. That building has undergone many transformations and uses since its’ initial purpose. My wife and I remember, as, I’m sure, some of you do, going to the Tack Room café for lunch in it. For a time, Macomb’s daily newspaper called the building it’s home. You may well have your own identification with it.
In some ways a building is like a person. There are seasons of life, each with its’ own struggles and purposes. An Old Testament book of our Bible puts it this way, “There is an appointed time for everything. There is a time for every event under heaven.” The Bible tells us that Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived or who will ever live. He wrote, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the book of Ecclesiastes from which the preceding quote is taken. Ecclesiastes 3, beginning with verse 1, goes on to list some of those events, such as “a time to give birth, a time to die; a time to plant, a time to uproot what was planted; a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to weep and a time to laugh; and a time to keep and a time to throw away; among others.
We Baby Boomers probably best remember these words from the Byrds’ song, “Turn Turn Turn.” It may be the only pop and rock song taken directly from Scripture! We must accept the seasons of our lives much the same as we accept the calendar’s seasons. For instance, we could refuse to acknowledge that here in Macomb, the temperature gets into the eighties and nineties in summer and continue to wear sweaters and coats, but we’d be very uncomfortable!
Every so often, each of us finds him or herself in a season of life not to her or his choosing. I, certainly, would never have chosen to be living in this season, (as a stroke survivor), of recovery! I could refuse to accept that and be miserable all day. I admit that pretty much defined my first weeks after the stroke. Even now, while I’m on board with physical therapy once a week at MDH with PT, Victor and at home every other day, except Sunday, with home therapist, wife, Nancy, I don’t really enjoy doing it!!
Of the plethora of seasons, there is no season for sinning and another for restraining from sinning. God expects us to refrain from sinning in all of life’s seasons! You, too, may be like I am, in that you long for past seasons of your life. I’ll refer you to a phrase I’ve heard, “Things aren’t what they used to be, but, then, they never were!” There’s a lot of truth to that.
I believe Solomon was saying, not only, that there are seasons of life, but, also, to be happy and fulfilled we must, with God’s help, embrace the particular season in which we find ourselves! I’ve tried to do that with my writing.
At present, I have no less than seven books at some stage of completion. Including “Finding Purpose In Pain,” an elaboration of a previous Street & Steeple article. One fiction novel, “Few Expectations, is finished and my most enjoyable books to write are “God’s In His heaven And All’s Right With The World,” an account of the Cubs winning the World Series Championship, and three Bible book commentaries I’m authoring : “More Than Conquerors” ( Romans ). “Equality With God Something Expendable” (Philippians), and “I Retract And Am Instructed” ( Job ).
This article’s point is: Live your life fully and passionately, for, indeed, there is a time for everything and we must embrace the season in which we find ourselves or be miserable.