“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is the one who sings to a heavy heart.” (Proverbs 25:20, NIV)
There is a time for everything. The challenge is to recognize the appropriate moment. People grieve and we try to push their sorrow away with our joy. “It’s going to get better.” “You will be a better person.” “It’s time to get on with life.” “Someday you will look back on this and smile.” These calls for emotional changes may be suitable, but can be ill-timed.
So often our timing is off. Confusing messages are rampant. It is time to fast, No, it’s time to have a feast. It’s time to be serious. No, it’s time to laugh. Cheer up. No, you should grieve. It will all go away. No, it will be with you.
Fast. Feast. Old. New. Grief. Laughter.
Jesus knew the appropriate times. He partied with sinners while accused of being a drunken glutton. He wept, waiting to bestow life. He recognized the invaluable worth of the old, while acknowledging the need for the new. There is a time to grieve over sin, but there is also a time to shout with the joy of forgiveness.
Jesus knew the difference. May we imitate His example.
Dear Father, our heartfelt request is that we learn to recognize the needs of others before act ing upon our own needs. May we serve each other, sensitive to appropriateness and love. Through the name of Jesus. Amen.
- PENNY NICHOLS, Bakersfield, California