Ralph's Daily Devotional - Monday, April 16

On the surface, Ecclesiastes 3:9-22 seems to be the words of a man in need of Prozac for depression!  In fact, a number of people feel that these are the words of a man in a state of hopeless despair and depression.  Yes, his words are dark and depressing.  They actually go against the joy and confidence of passages such as Romans 8:28.  But there is a purpose and reason for his writing of these words, and if you look closely you'll find it.

Notice his positive words: "beauty and eternity" (3:11).  They shine like beacons in the darkness of this chapter.  We are God's creation, and while life can indeed be brutal and dark, there is yet a higher purpose to life.  God has created us with "eternity in our hearts."

The reality of this mysterious yet wondrous verse is born out of this man's discontentment of living simply in this world with its share of futility.  I think he is saying, "When I observe life simply by what I see and humanly discern, I grow weary, discouraged and apathetic.  Life seems a joke!"  But there is more, and St. Agustine captures this with his words:


Our hearts are restless O Lord,
until they find their peace in You


I would say "Amen" to that.  In fact, I cannot understand how an atheist can be content in anything, given their views that there is no higher purpose or God.  This man is at least brutally honest in his assessment on life from his perspective.  But again he is speaking of living simply in the world without God.  I think he is postulating or putting himself into that mindset to illustrate for us how terrible it all is.  He even tried humanly to experience hope and joy, but that too became futile.

All of us dream of something better.  We wish for a better life and a better world.  We imagine and fantasize.  We create art and beauty.  We wish and struggle for things to not only be better but different.  We are not content to see a broken and dark world.  Neither is he.  Why don't we just accept the darkness?

Because God has put into us a sense of eternity.  We are like animals, but we are more than animals.  We are created in God's image, and there is something better awaiting those who call on God.  This man hopes against hope that someday he will see this eternity revealed.  I believe the wait is over (John 1:1-14).

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