From the archives…this was originally posted on March 28, 2011. To give some context for those who may be new to my blog: Please don’t misconstrue that I am encouraging a brainless, non-thinking faith. I’m not. A quick perusal of my archived posts will demonstrate the opposite. I encourage people to use their minds and seek answers. Christianity makes sense of the world around me, and answers many questions I have about life. Yet, faith must come into the picture as there are perplexing issues without apparent solutions. I have unfortunately seen people shipwreck their faith by becoming obsessed with finding answers to any and all questions. They could no longer have any faith, and needed empirical proof for everything. Perhaps this is why Ecclesiastes warns of the “vanity” of trusting in wisdom. With that, here is the original post:
Life is a paradox…embrace it!
“If knowing answers to life’s questions is absolutely necessary to you, then forget the journey. You will never make it, for this is a journey of unknowables, – of unanswered questions, enigmas, incomprehensibles, and most of all, things unfair.” – Madame Jeanne Guyon
Ecclesiastes is one of my favorite books of the Bible. I think it is an often misunderstood book. Some see it as pessimistic or contradictory or without hope. Yet, I find it simply realistic and refreshingly honest…and consequently hopeful! One reason I think it is often misunderstood, is people chop the book up taking verses out of context. Ecclesiastes is a book where it is particularly important to read the entire book through, and keep the overarching theme in mind.
Ecclesiastes is one of 5 wisdom books in the Old Testament. I’ve heard them summarized this way: The Psalms teach you how to pray, Proverbs how to live, Job how to suffer, the Song of Solomon how to love, and Ecclesiastes how to enjoy. Yes, enjoy!
Ecclesiastes warns us of the “vanity” or futility of trusting in things like wisdom, pleasure, or wealth for satisfaction in life. Trusting in your own abilities, apart from God, will only lead to cynicism, bitterness, or hopelessness. Life can also be an enigma…and hard to figure out. Sometimes good things happen to bad people, and sometimes bad things happen to good people. If we are obsessed with answers, we may end up miserable.
What you don’t understand is not meant to alienate you from God. We need to trust Him. God is in control, and one day the puzzle pieces will fit together. Don’t doubt in the dark what God has revealed in the light.
Meanwhile…enjoy the life God has given you! Live with gusto! We only have one life “under the sun” (here on earth), so appreciate the time you have been given by God.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 sums up and concludes the book:
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
Ultimate meaning will only be found in life by…accepting that you can’t figure everything out, trusting God, keeping His commandments, enjoying the life you’ve been given…knowing that God will one day make all things right. Embrace realism born of faith, and enjoy the journey my friends.