For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven …
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up.
The seasons of killing and breaking down could possibly be the most dreaded and feared junctures in life. Death, decay, destruction, sickness, pain, suffering—these are many of the words we would use to describe such times. In the midst of these circumstances, we ask ourselves, and God questions that sound something like this:
Why my family?
Why this disease?
How did this happen?
What good could possibly come from such a tragedy?
Valid questions. And I don’t believe God is offended when we ask Him why. He knows our sufferings. He cares about our grief and anguish. After all, Jesus is intimately acquainted with the season of killing and breaking down. He was tortured and killed so that we might be raised from the death and decay of sin, find healing, and experience abundant life.
Here’s a point to ponder, though. I believe God would like to move His precious daughters from the “why” questions into some “who” questions and statements. (I’ll explain later.)
King Solomon uses paradox when referring to the seasons of life. He uses contrasts to prove the point that in all of our seasons, there are reasons. Let me explain.
Our bodies breakdown, and often when faced with disease, doctors prescribe medication to kill and breakdown the disease so that new life, new tissue, and healing can begin.
Do you see the paradox in the phrase “a time to kill and a time to heal”? Our diseases must be killed so that new life can form. The same is true in our spiritual lives. Sin must die so that Christ can take His rightful place. We must die to sin so that we can be alive in Christ.
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” – Romans 8:13
Last year I underwent shoulder surgery. During the healing process something unfavorable happened. After my surgery, scar tissue began to form and my shoulder seized up and became frozen. I worked and worked. I exercised and exercised but the pain was tremendous and every time I stretched my arm a little further, I could feel the pain. That pain was the breaking down of the scar tissue. The tissue had to be torn from the repaired area so that my arm could have movement once again. That was the breaking down that had to happen so that the building up could begin.
1 Samuel 2:6 says, “The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to Sheol and raises up.”
I felt like I was in Sheol. I have never experienced such on-going unrelenting pain in my life, and I have birthed three children (two of which were eight and nine pounds respectively!). This pain was unlike anything I’ve ever known. But the pain was part of the healing and building up process.
So what does God have to kill and tear down spiritually in our lives? Lots and lots!
Often He must kill pride and bring about the healing balm of a humble and contrite spirit.
Sometimes God must kill selfishness and build up a love for others in our lives. At other times fear, worry, and unbelief must be broken down so that God can birth a new level of trust and surrender in our lives.
There are seasons, however, when God allows death and destruction into our lives, not because we need a lesson, but because He desires to grow us up in Him. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says,
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
I mentioned at the beginning of this devotion that God welcomes our “why” questions, and I believe He does. But I also believe that He wants to move us into some “who” statements.
To have grace and gratitude in every season, we must stop asking the “why” questions, come to the end of ourselves, and look to the “who” in our season.
The “who” is God and His Son, Jesus.
- Do you know “who” He is?
- Do you understand His power and authority?
- Do you comprehend that He is all-knowing and that His infinite knowledge, coupled with His unmatched wisdom makes all the decisions He chooses for your life right and righteous?
There is no better outcome from where God is reigning. He doesn’t choose one thing and think, oops, I should have chosen the other option. There are no better or more suitable options from where God reigns. God is sovereign. Do you see the verb in that word?
God reigns. He is in complete control and this knowledge brings life and peace.
When it comes to killing, breaking down, healing and building up, God is not interested in making us happy or comfortable or complacent. God’s foremost concern is our holiness. Our lives are too important to Him to leave us as we are. His desire is to create new life through His Son and through the Holy Spirit living in us.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Do you think it’s possible to be grateful for these seasons?
I’ll be honest. I don’t enjoy these times of killing and breaking down because I don’t enjoy pain and suffering and grief and heartbreak; and neither do you.
But here’s what my 17-year-old son, Austen, said to me last night as we were talking. He said, “Momma, my car accident was the best thing that ever happened to me. That’s when I got serious about my relationship with God and ever sense then I’ve been growing. God woke me up.”
Austen fell asleep while driving and flipped his car three times. That accident could have taken his life, but instead it gave him life—a renewed life of growth and transformation in Christ. He now has his own testimony of who God is. That couldn’t have happened without the Lord working in His way, in His time, in that season of Austen’s life.
God is showing me that when I exchange my “why” questions for “who” questions, I can experience grace and gratitude in every season, even the ones that break and bruise my heart the most.