11 True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going.12 I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life.
Compare the despondency of these verses from Ecclesiastes with the promise and hope of Ephesians 2:11-13: “11.But don’t take any of this for granted. It was only yesterday that you outsiders to God’s ways12 had no idea of any of this, didn’t know the first thing about the way God works, hadn’t the faintest idea of Christ. You knew nothing of that rich history of God’s covenants and promises in Israel, hadn’t a clue about what God was doing in the world at large.13 Now because of Christ—dying that death, shedding that blood—you who were once out of it altogether are in on everything.”
I am grateful for the writer of Ecclesiastes, because he states honestly his world view. I am grateful to the councils who courageously decided to include Ecclesiastes among the approved scriptures. My gratitude arises from the truth that Solomon’s experience of the absurdity of life is a genuine experience for many people. Without knowing Christ, without understanding the divine plan, and without knowing that God has welcomed him into that plan to live forever, Solomon understandably is despondent.
I am however also grateful for the Book of Ephesians, because Paul states another transcendent and superior truth: that meaning, purpose, energy, yes “exhilaration” is found through faith in Christ.
My life, and I imagine yours, is a reflection of that movement from darkness to light when we accepted the redemptive power of Jesus into our hearts and minds. A life without Christ would indeed be as dismal and negative as the writer of Ecclesiastes expresses it.
As I mature in Christ, I am aware of “old ways of thinking” that are undergoing change as Christ’s life in me illuminates those dark areas. Now, I observe and challenge thoughts that lead to selfish indulgence. I question old behaviors that previously brought quick pleasure but polluted my mind and heart.
Do not despair. Do not expect perfection or easy, quick understanding. Our walk is after all a walk of humble faith. Take courage and refuge in the promises of Jesus. He states that no one who believes in Him will be disappointed. He was totally clear and unequivocal: all who believe in Him and obey his Word will know the joy of eternal life with the Father.
This jaded world sounds much like the age-old lament of Solomon. That “whining” about the absurdity of life did not begin with modern “absurdist” or “nihilist” philosophers. What is new and exciting is Jesus Christ. God is actively revealing His purpose to us who believe, a purpose he held from the beginning.
Live fully the abundant life offered to you in Jesus. Go boldly forth this day in the power of the Holy Spirit. A dark world that is trapped in the despair of Solomon desperately needs to see and hear the Good News of Jesus. Claim that Good News as your own, then share it lovingly just as Paul shared it in Ephesians.