Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ecclesiastes 2:18-20 -- On Fighting Against Despair

"Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me.
And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity.
Therefore I went about to cause my heart to despair of all the labour which I took under the sun."
Ecclesiastes 2:18-20

In our lives we are tempted to despair quite often.  Maybe for the reason listed here... that our time on earth is limited, and that we can't always finish what we start... and who knows if anyone else will finish it for us.  There are plenty of other reasons as well.  We work and work, and sometimes we have nothing tactile to show for it, and it is hard to measure the things that we learned along the way.  Maybe a relationship that we have invested ourselves in for years crumbles, or a dear loved one dies, and everything we knew and counted on suddenly seems in doubt.  And thinking about this stuff is us, going about and causing our hearts to despair of everything we have done, because it can seem trivial and worthless in comparison to some of these gigantic things that happen to us.
It takes a while for Ecclesiastes to get around to reminding us of hope, so let's skip up to a quicker reminder: "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair" (2 Corinthians 4:8).  The temptation to despair is around us, maybe even more so during the holidays when we feel our responsibilities and limitations so keenly.  But, with God, we can feel trouble, we can be perplexed, and we can go through the vagaries of life, but we can retain hope, and resist despair.  We can remember that God always provides.  That prayer works, that even the worst darkness is followed by a glorious dawn.  Today, let's resist despair and remember God, who can bring light to our darkness.

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