A different angle, part three

We’re still enjoying the book of Ecclesiastes today as I want to continue digging into some of these verses that really jumped out at me. This next verse makes a pretty simple point at first, but closes out with something that forces you to think a little more deeply.

Ecclesiastes 7:14 In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.

The main portion of this verse speaks a wisdom that we hear several times in the Bible. Give thanks in the good times and enjoy them, but when times aren’t quite as easy don’t forget that sometimes God’s the author of our adversity. If you study the Bible, it was God’s purpose for many people to march through difficult and dangerous situations. In walking the path that God laid out for their lives, people were jailed, mocked, ridiculed, beaten, and sometimes even killed.

This is a bit of a side note here, but at times you’ll hear about what I consider a dangerous version of Christianity that says if you’re not living some super blessed life then you’re doing something wrong or you just don’t have enough faith or you just haven’t called in and given enough of your money yet. So I guess that means that Paul was doing something wrong and that he didn’t have enough faith? The guy was constantly facing adversity. Peter? Yeah, what a flake he was, right? No faith at all! (I’m of course being sarcastic). I know that God blesses people and leads them into times of great joy and prosperity. I’m in the midst of such a time in my life. Healed legs, new job that pays far beyond what my old job paid, a car that was given to me, I’m pretty much the poster boy for prosperous living right now. Does that mean I have more faith than you? Let’s say some tough times come into my life, does that mean that God’s favor has slipped away from me, and I’m being punished for something I’ve done? Not necessarily. It could mean that God needs to strengthen me for an even greater challenge that lies ahead. Maybe it means that there’s somebody within that adversity that I’m meant to touch. Like this verse says, God’s authorship doesn’t stop with joyful times and prosperous seasons, sometimes when you’re facing adversity it’s the exact adversity God wants you to be facing.

Okay so, looking back at the verse, I want to really dive into that last part, because it really fascinates me. “, so that man may not find out anything that will be after him.” My immediate interpretation of this is that God brings both seasons of prosperity and seasons of joy so that we don’t ever get comfortable. So that we’re always ready for anything. As I looked at this verse in my Bible commentary it said essentially the same thing, that this mix of easy times and tough times are part of God’s design to keep us on our toes, essentially.

It’s kind of a cool thing when you sort of unearth the voice of God in a scripture, isn’t it? Here’s God, telling us “be ready for anything.” Don’t get too comfortable, because you never know what’s coming next. I like this a lot, and I think it’s something that could do us a lot of good to really take to heart. Our lives are so constructed these days, so planned out to the minute. Following God demands a bit of flexibility, at least that’s been my experience so far. It demands that you leave your comfort zones behind, that you wave goodbye to the comforts of home on occasion.

I also think a good reason for this shift between easy times and tough times is so we don’t grow too attached to the good times. If every day is simple and easy and every need I have is met and I’m well fed and entertained, there’s a real danger that I’m not going to be seeking after God as hard as I sometimes do in adversity. You wanna know probably the closest I’ve ever felt to God? It’s when I was in the hospital earlier this year, in the dead of night, alone, scared, and in more pain than I ever even knew was possible. I reached out to Him with a sense of desperation that I’d never felt before, I had to cry out His name, and He swept through that room and immediately pulled that pain away from me and gave me the ability to rest for the first time in three days. That’s actually a good reminder for me. I haven’t thought about that night in the hospital for a little while, and I’m glad I did just now. It reminds me to keep my eyes on God in the good times as well as the tough times, to be abundantly and endlessly thankful for every day that I get to spend pain free on healthy legs but to also give thanks for that time in the hospital as well when He was right there with me.

CLOSING AND PRAYER

Father God, today I give you praise for the good and for the bad.  It’s not always easy to look up and say thank you when we’re struggling, but God, I do thank you for the struggles.  Thank you for the strength they reveal in us, for the closeness it can create between us and you, and thank you for the Biblical examples that show us that we might be in those struggles but remain right in the center of your will.  I ask right now that you strengthen our minds and our wills, God, help us to be a people that look up and thank you no matter the current circumstances of our life.  In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Well, it’s Thursday, which means we’ve all mostly survived another week.  I love you guys and I hope you’re all doing really wonderful!

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