Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NIV)

1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2 a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,  3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NRSV)  For everything these is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

DEVOTION – Mark Abbott (Washington)

On my morning walks I often pass an urban community garden.  City residents have divided vacant ground into small garden-sized plots.  Once these gardens were filled with flower and vegetables.  But recently I walked by and saw no flowers, no color, seemingly no fruit.  Why? We had early snow and ice last week.  It’s the season when gardens in our part of the world lie fallow.  But come spring, avid gardeners will once again see fruit in their garden plots.

Like that garden, we have season of color and obvious fruitfulness and also fallow time when we don’t grow as much.  Sometimes a fallow time comes after an icy experience.  Maybe we’ve suffered adversity or a loss.  Maybe we don’t feel usful anymore.  The wise writer of Ecclesiastes tells us that “every matter under heaven” has its season.  Some of these are not happy times.  For example, there is “a time of mourn…a time to keep silence” (Eccl. 3:4-7).  That sounds like a fallow season when we aren’t colorful and growing.  But because we know God, we live in trust that springtime and fruitfulness will come again.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God is at work for good even in our fallow seasons.

LINK2LIFE: Go to www.devotional.upperroom.org/blog to see a photo of the urban community garden.

PRAYER: Good and gracious God, help us to hope and trust in your ongoing work in our lives. Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS: Persons Facing “A Time to Mourn”

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