Solomon, a powerful and rich king who had everything the world offered, including hundreds of wives, reflected on his experience. “I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me; because everything is futility and striving after wind. Thus I hated all the fruit of my labor for which I had labored under the sun, for I must leave it to the man who will come after me.” (Ecclesiastes 2:17-18)
Contemplating the experience of the common man, Solomon observed, “Even at night his mind does not rest…there is nothing better for a man than to eat and drink and tell himself that his labor is good.” (from Ecclesiastes 2:23-24) Like him, we lie awake at night trying to figure out why we’re on earth, inventing purpose and reassuring ourselves that our work is fulfilling and worthwhile. What a sad state of affairs!
When will the sun come out from behind the clouds? Solomon points to God. “For who can have enjoyment without Him?” (Ecclesiastes 2:25b, emphasis mine)
Godless philosophies, which side-step the immaterial parts of life such as our spirits and abstract concepts (love, peace, truth, creativity, self-reflection, the difference between good and evil, etc) address only the few and fleeting years we spend on earth. Here today, gone tomorrow—that’s it. Yet we humans behave as if we have all the time in the world. If we’re nothing more than atoms, what makes us feel immortal? One explanation is that God, according to Ecclesiastes 3:11, has set eternity in our hearts.
Knowing God—the One who created us and sent His Son to redeem us, who loves us, forgives us, provides strength-joy-hope, and who promises us a future with Him—makes all the difference. Several years ago, my friend Edie wrote in her Christmas letter that her husband had to be moved to a nursing home, and she herself was suffering from declining health. She ended the paragraph with two words, “But God!”
Thanks for sharing your heart, Edie.
From October readings for Days 3, 4, and 5
Jeremiah 5-6, 7-9, and 10-11
Ecclesiastes 2:17-26, 3:1-15, and 3:16-22
John 1:19-34, 1:35-42, and 1:43-51
James 1:19-27, 2:1-13, and 2:14-26