“Vapors of vapors and futility of futilities, says the Preacher. Vapor of vapors and futility of futilities! All is vanity (emptiness, falsity, and vainglory) What profit does man have left from all his toil at which he toils under the sun? [Is life worth living?] Ecclesiastes 1:2,3 Amplified Bible
Solomon begins his great treatise, his philosophy concerning life, pointedly revealing how worthless it is to live. This based on his vast wisdom and life experience, which was vast and very great. It was given to him by God, at Solomon’s request. God commended him for his choice, even promising Solomon wealth, power, and success because Solomon chose Wisdom. However, Solomon forgot where the wisdom originated. He didn’t allow its foundation to remain settled in and upon the granite of God’s wisdom. It didn’t rest in the reality that the wisdom was not Solomon’s, it was God’s wisdom— gifted to Solomon.
It’s quite a revelation of God’s love when the gifts He provides, when the promises He gives remain even when they are abused. Even when they are used in ways which are entirely selfish, when we have forgotten Who supplied the promises, the gifts, the talents, and the abilities permitting us to be more than. Yet God allows the promises to be fulfilled; the gift is still given, the talents still function, the abilities remain. He honors His word always for the sake of His name. However, there are consequences which He allows to remain as well. Often the consequences of the choices made impact generations.
At some place in the distant past, our existence became referred to as the “Journey of Life.” On this journey there are detours, on ramps, off ramps, forks in which we choose one or the other to follow. We find turn outs, ruts, get stuck in mud, or even see ourselves being swallowed in a bog of quicksand. At times we may even agree with this wisest of men, Solomon. We, too, see our life as a total waste of time and effort.
Because that is how Solomon, the wisest of all mankind, viewed life. He saw it as a colossal waste of time. He decided if someone had never been born, they were way ahead of the game. This is what the wisest man in the world has for us as the product of his intellect! If you seek comfort, encouragement, a way to deal with a depression, don’t read Ecclesiastes. Especially skip reading the first 3 chapters, definitely not those!
“To everything there is a season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1 Amplified Bible
I don’t know if there are seasons, or not. For me, maybe it’s about cycles. Certainly life is often about cyclones, tornadoes, hurricanes, and/or massive storms, all of which Jesus proved He can handle. Jesus can cope with any storm coming my way, your way, anyone’s way. He may divert the perfect storm; He may calm the perfect storm. He may be sleeping in the boat during the perfect storm (meaning He’s in the boat with you, I forget that one too often!), or He chooses to calm you during the perfect storm. What He chooses is what He chooses, and as God He owes us no explanation, ever!
I can hear the howling and gnashing of teeth coming from the “that’s not fair” gallery. I know because I used to live there, until the day I realized this (definitely not on my own): where was it written, where was I told life was fair? What made it fair for God? Was it fair for Jesus? Why was it fair that an angel named Lucifer, one who stood in the very presence of God rebelled, deciding he should be God? What’s so fair when I decide the universe must revolve around me and me alone? All of a sudden Fair doesn’t have much of the appeal it once had for me.
There is another issue that plagues us when it comes to life, those pesky little things we call feelings. Well, God gave us those feelings at the beginning of time. The emotions He created in us were also declared good when He declared His creation of Adam and Eve good! We need to feel, the only thing we didn’t need was to know the difference between Good and Evil. Every feeling, emotion has a purpose, a place in our process of Grace. They help us know we are alive; they help us know we are not who we were! We really don’t want a God, or a universe, or a world based on the fantasy of fair. If we are willing to be real, to be honest, fair is defined as “I get what I want.” It is Grace we need. We crave, we desire, we even want to live Grace.
If life on this broken, rebellious world was based on the principle of what is fair, we would be doomed! We would not even be here. If God based His Kingdom on fairness rather than on Grace (love, mercy, gentleness, patience, kindness) which is the Essence of Who He is, there would be no earth. We would have destroyed ourselves long ago. Fairness dictates God had no responsibility to save us. Only Grace, the essence of God’s love, compelled our Creator to choose Salvation over loosing us forever. Fair isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, so I choose Grace, Jesus, and even the silence of the Perfect Storm knowing I’m not in it alone.