Tues., Aug. 13, 2018
Ecclesiastes 2:11 – Then I thought about everything I had done, including the hard work, and it was simply chasing the wind. Nothing on earth is worth the trouble.
Sometimes, the right words just seem to show up.
I began reading the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes recently. The most well-known chapter of this book? Chapter 3 – the “there is a time for everything” chapter. I’ve used this scripture at weddings, funerals and everything in-between. The words are popular Pinterest projects as well as on the front of worship folder covers.
Before chapter 3, however, comes chapter 2. I know that I have read this chapter before. In fact, in the copy of the Bible that I read from most often, (the one that is literally falling apart), several verses are underlined.
Only two verses in chapter 3 are marked up. Hmmm. What does this say to me?
As I read chapter 2 again, I realized why. One time when I read chapter 2, I wrote this in the margin by verse 11, “how I feel right now.”
To help understand verse 11, we need to know what comes before. The author writes of being busy, accomplishing lots of things and using wisdom in making choices.
Now, with this context, please re-read verse 11 once again.
Then I thought about everything I had done, including the hard work, and it was simply chasing the wind. Nothing on earth is worth the trouble.
Does anyone else struggle with chasing the wrong things? Maybe it’s just me?
The author continues with a discussion about foolish versus wise people. He thought wise was better … until he realized wise people die also!
Where is the comfort in this?
There is more discussion … more contemplation … more confusion.
And then, comes chapter 3. Here are verses 1-11:
Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.
There is a time for birth and death, planting and reaping,
for killing and healing, destroying and building,
for crying and laughing, weeping and dancing,
for throwing stones and gathering stones, embracing and parting.
There is a time for finding and losing, keeping and giving,
for tearing and sewing, listening and speaking.
There is also a time for love and hate, for war and peace.
What do we gain by all of our hard work? I have seen what difficult things God demands of us. God makes everything happen at the right time. Yet none of us can ever fully understand all he has done, and he puts questions in our minds about the past and the future.
Sometimes, as much as I struggle to, I must defer my timing to God’s timing. As much as I want to align things for my comfort, desires and anticipated outcomes, God really has a more correct timeframe then I ever will.
We can read these verses and declare, “Well, then. I have no say in what happens to me!” Actually, I do not subscribe to this thought process. I believe we engage with God, look for guidance and acknowledge our AND God’s role. In the end, our views of our past and the future will never quite be the same as God’s view.
Think of it this way. The sun never really disappears. It only disappears from our sight. Someone else is viewing the sun when it is not visible to us.
God never really disappears. Sometimes, we may feel God has disappeared from our sight. Maybe, we just aren’t looking in the right spot. Or the timing hasn’t aligned appropriately. God will appear again soon. Maybe it will be a little cloudy when God does. Or a shower will prevent us from fully grasping God’s presence. But God is there. Sometimes, our timing is just a little off.
For God’s timing which is so much better than my timing, I am grateful.
Almighty God – As easy as it is for us to blame You for “leaving” us or thinking we’re all alone, I pray we can be wise enough to remember You never leave us. Thank goodness Your timing is far superior to our timing. Just grant us patience in the meantime! Amen.
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