These are some thoughts that I had as I was reading this passage this morning. I may be off theologically and I know I skipped over some verses but I hope that I got at least the idea of what God is saying here.
“What gain has a worker from all his toil?”
What is the point of working? What is the point of striving in this life? Is there any good in it?
“I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time.”
Everything? A sick child, hospital stays and surgeries for the child, an unexpected and harder pregnancy, uncertainty about the future–beautiful? How can there be beauty in these? Its painful, its uncomfortable. I don’t see the beauty in the midst off all these thorns.
“Also he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
I long for a good ending, for things to be right and to forget what has happened in the near past. Perhaps this is the eternity that God has placed in my heart. I do not know why God has done all these things but perhaps it is His plan for me to not know. Everything fits into the big picture of life and I need to have faith that if I knew everything God knew, I would do everything the exact same way.
“I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they should live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–this is God’s gift to man.”
How do I respond to all my toil and the weariness of it? With joy, and doing good to others. Taking pleasure in my work and toil. God has created man to work. Oh how contraty to the American dream that I get so caught up in. Little work, lots of wealth, no worries, plenty of comfort. But that is wrong. I am to take pleasure in work. Pleasure? work? Do they even belong in the same sentence? Aren’t they like, total opposites? I guess I can think of it this way. After a long day in which I worked and played with Owen, did my responsibilies of work around the house, and made dinner, I feel exhausted but joyful, even happy. I feel like I ran myself into the ground but I did what God made me to do. There is pleasure in that. It is how God intended work to be without sin. The joy is God’s gift to man.
“I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away.”
I can’t change what has happened. I can’t forget about the trials of November and the following months after that up until even this very day. I can’t control or change what will happen. But what I can change are my responses to the past and to events in the future that have yet to take place. This is so hard to do but I must trust in God.
I carry a lot of pain in my heart with regards to what happened to Owen but there was also joy in the midst of all that toil. I am not enjoying the toil of this pregnancy but there will be so much joy coming from it, another son! I do not enjoy the toil of a budget or of a house that is very quickly going to be too small for us, but there is joy in learning to manage money in a better, God honoring way, and there is joy in being so close to each other that we can call to each other in any room of the house! I do not enjoy the toil that comes from seeking God’s face and learning his lessons, but there is the joy of finding God and the joy of Heaven when all our toil will be over and we will be face to face with God and the thorns of life will be done away with. Life on this earth is not to be easy or comfortable. The pricks and stings of sin point us to that great day when we shall be united with Christ. Oh that I can keep my heart trusting until that day. It will be so worth it!
“Lord, help me to see the good among the evil, the joy amidst the toil, the light in the middle of the darkness. Thank you so much for all your goodness to us! For you are so good and your mercies are new every morning!”