January 01, 2011

A Time to Rend and A Time to Sew

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

To every thing there is a season,

and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

a time of war, and a time of peace.

I have often shared this passage with my children to show them that Daddy's death wasn't an"accident." It was his appointed time to die. Yet recently as I read these words one night, the words "a time to rend and a time to sew" stood out to me. Rend-basically means to tear. Now why would someone tear their clothing?

Back in the time of Solomon when this was written it was the custom of the people to tear their clothes. This was an outward sign that something terrible had happened--some disaster or some calamity had taken place. It was also a sign of deep sorrow and mourning over someone who had died. Sometimes a person would do this when he was very sad and angry because of sin. As they would tear their clothes, they would not usually tear the entire garment into shreds, but they would tear a slit or a series of slits in the bottom of the item of clothing.

"A time to rend and a time to sew......" I imagine that after a time the garment was sewn again. Can you imagine the widow who's husband died in battle, sitting down one day to sew again the tear she made when she heard the news? Or maybe laying that garment aside and sewing a new one. How strange it might have felt not to have that tear in the garment anymore. Imagine with me the emotions she may have felt. The silent tears that fell down her cheeks or the sobs that escaped...."

God says there is a time to sew....

My life has felt often like a garment. When my husband died, I felt like my heart had been torn. When my son was born, I did some sewing. Going to another's person's funeral, another tear. Watching it bring my children to a better understanding of death and heaven was some mending. Sharing stories of God's faithfulness on this journey and how I am slowly learning God's Husbandly ways--more sewing. As I near the 5th anniversary of my husband's departure to Heaven, I look down and see the long tear that was made in the depth of my being that appointed night. There are little stitches here and there of different kinds and colors. It isn't as long as it once was.....because God said there were times of sewing.
It is far from being completely mended.
But I know stitch by stitch it is being made beautiful in God's time......

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