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. — Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Death’s timing is a mystery. It intrudes into our lives and snatches away our loved one. Like a detective, we feel a desperate need to solve our case, to understand why. We sift through clues, search for evidence, and examine all of death’s possible motives for seizing our loved one. Frustration fuels our investigation. We seek answers to our questions but find none.
“Why now?” we ask. Death came much too soon. It left dreams undone, life unlived, words unspoken.
We may never solve the why of “the when.” Yet, like Solomon, we may need to consider there is a time and season for everything, and we are to savor every moment.
That’s what Alice discovered one morning in her backyard as she sought answers and peace. The past few weeks’ events had touched her soul deeply. As she strolled through the grass, she recalled how her grandson had died just moments after his birth. How odd that birth and death could come so close together. Yet his brief life had changed hers forever. She mourned the loss of never being a granny who read to him, baked him cookies, taught him to fish, drank hot chocolate with him under a moonlit sky, or watched her daughter be a mother to him.
As Alice continued to walk, she longed for a time to heal. Then she saw a green, celery-like stem with fragile, transparent blossoms coming out of the ground. The flower hadn’t been there yesterday. She remembered the previous fall planting a bulb her friend had given to her, calling it “a surprise lily.”
A few days later, Alice walked again in the backyard and found the blossoms had died. Disappointed, she told her friend about the short-lived bloom only to discover that the normal life span for that type of lily was a few days.
Why would God create something so beautiful and allow it to die so quickly? Alice wondered. Her thoughts drifted to her grandchild. She reflected on the joy she had felt over his coming and her disappointment over his short life. She walked over to her patio, opened her Bible, and read,
Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should. — Psalm 90:12, TLB
God’s truth penetrated her soul. Although many of her questions still remained unanswered, she sensed a deeper appreciation for life — whether it be brief or long.
Like Alice, the timing of our loved one’s death may remain a mystery, but we can treasure every moment we are given as a gift. Let’s make the most of our time today and our time with our loved ones. We never know when we or they may be gone.
Lord, Your timing is a mystery to me. I admit I don’t understand why You chose to take my loved one away when You did. I wanted to experience so many things with him (her) and say so many things. I’ve searched for answers to my questions, but I realize there are none. Your Word says there is a time and a season for everything. I’m ready for a time of joy, peace, and healing. Help me to embrace the time You’ve given me and to make the most of every moment today. Amen.
Excerpted with permission from Grieving the Loss of a Loved One: A Devotional of Hope by Kathe Wunnenberg, copyright Zondervan.
* * *
Are you in a season of grieving the loss of a loved one? We are praying for you today. Come join the conversation on our blog whether you’ve lost a parent, friend, spouse, child, recently or many years ago. We’d love to encourage and lift up one another in our community. Today, let’s embrace that God’s timing is His timing and although we may not understand, we can trust in His goodness. ~ Devotionals Daily