Last week Jules and I broke the big news that we are having our first child, and the outpouring of congratulations has been overwhelming. From family and friends, to people at our church, to high school and college friends I haven’t seen in years – everyone has been so happy for us.
After the congratulations, of course, comes the sage words of wisdom from people that have gone before us – people who have braved the world of parenthood and lived to tell about it… and while everyone has been helpful, and I really do appreciate the advice… most of it boils down to one thing: “Your life will NEVER be the same…” (insert deep ominous music here). People then usually add something like, “Oh but it’s great!” That got me thinking about just what that means “your life will never be the same…” The same from what?
Before I got married I had never lived with a girl before, and anyone who is married will tell you your life is never the same after that. Jules and I bought our first home a little over three years ago and, at least from a stress vantage point, that is very different than living in a rented apartment with a maintenance staff on-call – again our lives were never the same. When I went from high school to college I had never lived away from home, had to buy my own food, pay my own electric and phone bills, and basically been responsible for myself, and my life has never been the same… And all those things happened just in the last 10 years.
Now, I know what you parents are thinking, “Oh Zac, but you don’t know… this is way different.” I have no doubt that it is… I mean God has allowed Julie and I to partner with him in creating a human life… I know this is major. But the question I have is – should that really surprise us? I mean, God is a God of change and adjustments. Now, God himself does not change, but he has set up the world so that it is in a state of flux constantly.
The seasons – spring, summer, fall, winter – are all radically different (unless of course you live in Florida where it never drops below 50). The same human being at age 8 looks and acts vastly different than they do at 80, though it is the same person. Mountains rise and fall because of the movement of the Earth itself. God is a God who has ordered life so that we are accustomed to change. All of it, though, has its proper place and time.
The Byrds recorded that famous song Turn, Turn, Turn based on Ecclesiastes 3 which says,
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what 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 seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, 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 for war, and a time for peace.
God has designed everything to have its place, he has designed everything to be in a state of change for a season. But the great news is that God prepares us, and in the fullness of time he makes us ready for those moments when “life will never be the same.”