In Ecclesiastes 3:1, Solomon wrote: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” Do you see two similar words in that verse? Time and season both describe measurable durations – when something begins or ends. Maybe like you, I have read this passage countless times, but this week, God illustrated this verse in a new way.

Monday was an exciting day for our family … our first grader was off to her last day of school and could hardly wait to leave her classroom a second grader. As I drove home from work, a text from my wife indicated my daughter was anxiously awaiting my arrival to show me her yearbook, projects she had been working on, certificates and other treasures. Our dinner conversation was consumed with questions and answers about the last day of school festivities. It was a good day. Well, it was a good day.

Soon after, I received word from a friend in Oregon that a dear friend of our family had passed away. She had been fighting cancer and her body was losing the battle with each dose of chemotherapy. As I gathered details, I learned that our gracious God took our friend home as she slept next to her husband. And while this comforted me momentarily, the overall news still pierced my heart – for her husband, her family and our former church, in which she was an integral part. This friend was one of the good ones. To say my son loved her as his Sunday school teacher would be an understatement. He LOVED her. And above all, her love of Jesus was so evident. I found myself with battled emotions of sadness for the loss and joy for her heavenly homecoming. What had started as such a good day …  had ended much differently.

As Ecclesiastes 3 continues, Solomon writes, “[there’s] a time to be born and a time to die; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” On Monday, I did this all. A second grader was “born” just as a dear friend passed away. I laughed with my daughter as she recounted her last day of school, and then cried over the loss of a friend. And that last line? Well, that’s all God’s doing. Only He can turn “wailing into dancing” as David writes in Psalm 30. I give Him credit, turn to Him for comfort and choose to believe He gives and takes away … all for His glory and our benefit.