Welcome to today's edition of the iPod Devotional Series. Sometimes I take a leap of faith and go to the iPod "shuffle songs" feature. You hit the button and the iPod randomly picks a song. I am writing a blog about whatever song the device selects from the 1,700 plus songs on my iPod. My music list will further confirm my status as a Christian who makes others feel superior. My music goes from Al Green to the Youngbloods. Beatles to U2. Old hymns to modern praise music. Toby Keith to Frank Sinatra. Oldies to the soundtrack from Monty Python's Spamalot. This could be interesting. So with without further ado the selection today is…

Turn, Turn, Turn by the Byrds.

The song was the second number one hit for the Byrds and it reached that spot in 1965. Their first song to reach number one? Mr. Tambourine Man. The words of a wise king who wrote a classic lament in a book called Ecclesiastes would become the basis for a hit song about 3,000 years later. That has to be the record for delayed release of a song.

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
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,

I will have to confess that I first learned these truths courtesy of The Byrds in 1965. I had no idea that they borrowed some ideas from the Old Testament. I thought the Old Testament was all begats and rules. With lyrics by Solomon (King) and Seeger (Pete) the song Turn! Turn! Turn! was a favorite of mine during my very confused journey into adolescence. But the truth of the words of King Solomon beautifully adapted by Seeger and colleagues is still resonating with me more than a few years later. I reflected on those verses over four years ago when my bride began a difficult battle with breast cancer. I remember how one passage took on an entirely new meaning.

a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

That seemed to summarize the weird cycle of chemotherapy. The chemo kills the rapidly dividing cells and then the other drugs stimulate white cells to regain strength and heal. But the real message of this rambling is contained in the next verse…

a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

That says it all in a nutshell of ancient wisdom. There was a lot of weeping early in that journey. We had exhausted our annual Kleenex budget with seven months still left in the financial year. God gave us the gift of weeping. That is a sentence I never thought I would write as an American male raised on John Wayne, don't cry and rub dirt on it. But weeping and crying out to God is cleansing and therapeutic and men ought to get a little better at that truth. There may be no crying in baseball but there is crying when your wife and best friend is facing cancer. There was mourning. We accepted the reality of her disease. This was a foe that could win. We trusted in a God that had proven trustworthy and we trusted His sovereign direction.

We mourned the loss of blessed routine. Our lives were turned upside down for a very long time. But perhaps the most overlooked truth in that passage for many people going through a trial is the gift of humor - the time to laugh.

Joni and I were determined to find a time to laugh through the cancer journey. There was a time to laugh…even in the face of cancer. Joni and I laugh about an incident that happened early in the chemo triathlon. Joni's hair starting coming out and she got the buzz cut on Monday. That same night she went to an event wearing her new wig. A woman came up to her and said, "I love what you've done with your hair! What have you done?"

I asked Joni if she had shared how this admirer could have the same look. It is really very simple. Just have a port surgically installed. Begin chemo. Wait two weeks. Remove remaining hair. Don wig. Voilà! New look!

It is easy for those in the valley and for those around them to discard the gift of humor. Sometimes we almost consider it a Godly thing to be somber and downcast. I would suggest that laughter is one of God's most precious gifts in the healing process. We committed to laugh during the trial as we put our trust in the One who bestowed that wonderful gift. There is a time for laughter. Don't forget to make time for it.

And back to the wisdom of King Solomon (as covered by the Byrds) we note that there is a time to dance. I am rhythmically challenged but I am looking forward to dancing in a few months. I know my bride will be ready to dance. Joni will reach the five year mark since diagnosis and she is cancer free. In this season we are grateful for the gift of life. We have been pretty good about appreciating each healthy day and praising the God who gives the gift of life. There is a time for everything and this is a time to be grateful.