He could have had anything, but he asked for wisdom. And so it went that he was granted more wisdom than any man, ever. The third chapter of Ecclesiastes was his observations on how these earthly things go. There is a natural rhythm to life, an ebb and flow that we can’t bypass or ignore. There is no override button.
The thing about life is it was meant to be lived. Sometimes, that seems like bad news. I saw this chapter printed out on display in an office space last week. The middle of verse 8 was left out, so all it said was A time to love and a time for peace taking out the hate and war part. I like that better, too. But that’s not how things are.
As it is, I can’t read these verses without silently inserting turn, turn, turn (can you?), but that is the truth of it. Time turns and turns and rolls over itself, the awful and the lovely mixing in like colored play-doh. I can’t say that the awful makes the lovely more lovely, because I think the lovely would be just fine on its own. Somehow, though, it can be redeemed; even the hate and the war parts. As much as I’d prefer the lovely all by itself, beauty from ashes tells a more compelling story.