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Meditations by John Dean

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Town That Disappeared

(Ecclesiastes 3:1-2) To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die...

No truer words were ever spoken than those in our text. There does seem to be a built-in governing factor in each one’s allotted “season” that cannot be controlled by that person. This governing factor has to do with...when one is born and when they die. The quality of time between those two factors is oftentimes affected by the quality of decisions made by that individual.

In spite of one’s personal circumstances, God has given each person the freedom to choose how they fill their allotted time. They can choose to live a positive life in the Lord or they can choose to live a negative life feeling mistreated and unloved.

The Bible says that man’s days are three score and ten which is seventy years. In Biblical numerology seventy is a perfect number. However, that number can either be interpreted as a literal seventy years or it can be interpreted that the allotted time one has been given is perfect. If the former interpretation is the case then the seventy years speaks of ”kairos” time which means a given moment. If the latter interpretation is right then that is “chronos” time which means a season in which something will occur or cease. You might say the “chronos” time is the correct interpretation because it is a fluctuating number that changes with each individual.

Regardless of what our personal thoughts are on our allotted time…each season that is given by God is in perfect harmony with His will. There really is a “time to be born and a time to die.”

Having said all of that I am still not sure we fully understand “times or seasons” and that is why we have to believe it by faith.
A simple explanation does not seem sufficient when one thinks of a baby dying at a few weeks of age while a man in the mountains of Ecuador is still alive at one hundred twenty-four years.

A few days ago while visiting my daughter and son-in-law in East Texas, I had an experience I will not soon forget. One day my son-in-law and I went riding through the countryside which took us through a few small towns. We drove through what I had remembered as a kid, a bustling town. This town had a large sawmill, lots of streets and houses, stores, schools, restaurants, a hotel, a theater, a feed store, a service station, post office, train station and many other things.

However, the day that my son-in-law and I drove through this town...it was gone. As a matter of fact there was not even any evidence that a town ever existed there. Where the hotel, school, theater and everything else was…there is now a mature forest ready to harvest.

The large sawmill moved out and as a result so did everything else. That was almost sixty years ago and the town is not even a memory in anyone’s mind except in the mind of a few remaining old folks like me.

As sad as that may seem I wonder if somehow that fits within the same category as our text “A time to be born and a time to die.”

Father,
Help us to accept the fact that the coming and going of life is a cycle that must take place. We may not understand the timing of life or even the reason of death, but we do desire to trust You and leave those decisions in Your hands.

Amen

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