A Wrong Time for Everything

There’s a right time for everything under the sun (Ecc. 3:1–8). That means, apart from God, we creatures find a wrong time for everything under the sun, too.

Writes Karl Barth (CD IV.2, §65, 413–14):

The stupidity of man consists and expresses itself in the fact that when he is of the opinion that he achieves his true nature and essence apart from the knowledge of God, without hearing and obeying His Word, in this independence and autonomy, he always misses his true nature and essence.

He is always either too soon or too late.

He is asleep when he should be awake, and awake when he should be asleep.

He is silent when he should speak, and he speaks when it is better to be silent.

He laughs when he should weep, and he weeps when he should be comforted and laugh.

He always makes an exception where the rule should be kept, and subjects himself to a law when he should choose in freedom.

He always toils when he should pray, and prays when only work is of any avail.

He always devotes himself to historical and psychological investigation when decisions are demanded, and rushes into decision when historical and psychological investigation is really required.

He is always contentious where it is unnecessary and harmful, and he speaks of peace where he may confidently attack. …

In Eccl. 3 we are given a list of different things for which there is a proper time — in accordance with the fact that God Himself does everything in its own time.

The genius of stupidity is to think everything at the wrong time, to say everything to the wrong people, to do everything in the wrong direction, to lose no opportunity of misunderstanding and being misunderstood, always to omit the one simple and necessary thing which is demanded, and to have a sure instinct for choosing and willing and doing the complicated and superfluous thing which can only disrupt and obstruct.

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