I ran out to the mailbox. It was -35 with the wind, so I didn’t want to be out there very long. I put the key in the lock, turned it, and opened the door. I didn’t even look inside. I just thrust my hand in and grabbed everything.
Minus 35 is cold. Wind or not.
As I raced back to the house, I glanced at what was in the pile. Bills. A letter about tax receipts. More bills. Something for my brother-in-law. And more bills.
I got back into the house. Sighs were mixed with shivers from the winter air.
A wave of frustration, a wave of fear, a wave of “Oh God, what are we going to do” hit me. Then completely subsided when the Holy Spirit said these words.
“There is a time for bills.”
Leave it to God to remind me of the Scriptures.
It was a play on the wisdom literature of Solomon, from the book of Ecclesiastes.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.”
Sometimes this is a hopeful passage. Other times, it’s read when we are profoundly sad.
There are people that read this as if it’s the way that God does things, controls things, acts in the world; as if God made people die, or wanted them to be torn down, killed, or thrown away. But I find that completely out of his character.
Rather, I see Solomon’s book a reflection of how life works. That life works in a kind of cycle. There is a sort of balance. A time to be born and then die. A time when you plant and then harvest.
It’s a cycle. There is a time when things happen. There is a time when things don’t happen.
And there is a time when the mail is all bills like it was that day.
It wasn’t a sign that God was punishing me or my family. It wasn’t a sign of us being irresponsible with what God had blessed us with. It was that time for the bills to arrive.
And there will come a day, hopefully not as cold, when I will check the mail and it will not be bills, bills, and more bills. Because it will be the time when bills are paid.
We can be quick to blame God for what is happening in our times, things that are irritating or uncomfortable; things that may add stress or make our anxiety jump. But that is not his character. That is not who God is.
Remember what Jesus said about his heavenly Father, our heavenly Father,
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
Life works in cycles. Sometimes it is a time to plant. Sometimes it is a time to harvest. Sometimes it is a time for bills. And if you find yourself in that time now, remember: there is also a time when the bills are paid. And God will provide.
This article first appeared on Christian Thought Sandbox.