A Time to Die

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

In the first eight verses of Ecclesiastes 3 there is a remarkable listing of 28 “times” arranged in 14 pairs of opposites (e.g., “a time to be born and a time to die”). Every timed event is planned by God and has a “purpose” (v. 1), and everything is “beautiful” in God’s time for it (v. 11).

Although it is beyond our finite comprehension, it is still bound to be true that the infinite, omnipotent God “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:11). Even when in our time we may not understand how a particular event can be purposeful or beautiful, we can have faith that if it occurs in God’s time for it, it is (Romans 8:28).

The time of our birth is, of course, not under our control, but we can certainly have a part in determining the occurrence of all the other 13 “times,” even the time of death. With the exception of those still living at the time of Christ’s return, each of us will eventually die. God has appointed a time for each individual, and it is wrong for him or her to shorten that time (by suicide or careless living, which can never be part of His will for any of us).

We should say with David, “My times are in thy hand” (Psalm 31:15), and seek to live in ways pleasing to Him as long as He allows us to live. We should pray that, when our time is finished, He will enable us to die in a manner that will be “beautiful in his time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Not one of us knows when that ordained “time to die” may be for us, so we must seek daily to “walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5). HMM

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