Everything Under Heaven


TO EVERYTHING there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven.[1]

I’ve always loved the song “Turn, Turn, Turn “ performed by The Byrds. In December 1965, the folk-rock band released this cover of Pete Seegar’s adaptation of a portion of chapter three from the book of Ecclesiastes. I enjoy hearing it, singing it, and playing it. It took me twenty-five years to realize it had a much deeper meaning than merely an admired song with Roger McGuinn’s incomparable 12-string guitar.

I came to understand that Solomon, the richest man in the Ancient World, wrote these words (read Eccl. 3:2–8 for the full meaning) to let us know that there is a divinely ordained time for all of life’s events. The Apostle Paul many years later wrote, “We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.” [2] Note the Rabbi/teacher Paul points out “all things.” God is fully involved in our experiences.

This truth from Scripture has had a tremendous impact on me lately. As I navigate the days, I need this constant reminder (and promise) that God is in control. The Covid-19 outbreak, political and social unrest, the recent death of two friends, and my wrestling with cancer can easily take me out of balance into feelings that all lead to dead ends. I found the only answer is, “there’s a time for every matter under heaven.” Everything fits into God’s plan.

Solomon also wrote, “The Lord has made everything [to accommodate itself and contribute] to its own end and His own purpose—even the wicked [are fitted for their role] for the day of calamity and evil.”[3]

Now, I know you may have questions, and I don’t want to take the time and energy of this article to debate. The answers I give to most questions about God’s sovereignty are from my own experiences. I know God never revokes the responsibility you and I have for our choices. We’re free to make decisions that are outside of Scripture and His will. That’s happened since Eve and Adam ate the apple. In His sovereignty, going back to the Garden, God never eliminates our responsibility for our actions. Sin, going against God’s will, is our own choice. The result is we may have to live with some consequences of our wrong choices, but God is there—He never leaves us or forsakes us. He’s never left me, and I know He’ll never leave you. As Forest Gump said, “that’s all I have to say about that.”

As I look at events that are happening, I realize my plans won’t work. I overlook things. I set unrealistic expectations. Then, there are surprises like the death of a close friend or a diagnosis.

When we read Scripture, however, nothing is left out of God’s plan. Paul wrote:

In Him we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance; for we had been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose, Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will,

So that we who first hoped in Christ [who first put our confidence in Him have been destined and appointed to] live for the praise of His glory! [4]

Rabbi Paul clearly points out that nothing is left to chance or omitted. Nothing comes into our lives that is not part of God’s plan for us. That’s such a comfort to me.

What I fall back upon is that God is good. He works everything together “for our good.” God is wise—He knows all the details that I don’t know because I’m not God, HE IS!

Eugene Peterson wrote, “Sovereignty, God’s sovereignty, is one of the most difficult things for people of faith to live out in everyday routines. But we have no choice: God is Sovereign. God rules. Not only in our personal affairs but in the cosmos. Not only in our times and places of worship but in office buildings, political affairs, factories, universities, hospitals—yes, even behind the scenes in saloons and rock concerts. It’s a wild and extravagant notion, to be sure.”[5]

What an extravagant promise and comforting thought. We can rest in God’s plan despite any circumstances. We can be assured His hand is guiding the tiller, and He will work all things out to His glory and my good.

[1] All Scripture quotations are from The Amplified Bible (La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1987), Ec 3:1.

[2] Ro 8:28.

[3] Pr 16:4.

[4] Eph 1:11–12. Emphasis mine

[5] Eugene H. Peterson, The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005), Introduction to 1 Ki.

Wayne Hastings is a publishing consultant who has written several books including The Way Back From Loss: Reassembling the Pieces of a Broken Life.


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