God has made everything suitable for its time; moreover, he has put a sense of past and future into their minds, yet they cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live; moreover, it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in all their toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it; God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him.
I once read about visitors to New York’s Hayden Planetarium complaining that exhibits were too complicated to understand. People were disappointed that models of current astrophysical data along with a history of the known universe were too complex to take in.
I had to smile on reading that a tour of billions of galaxies, star clusters, and supernovae left people scratching their heads. No doubt! After all, we do inhabit an unimaginable cosmos far beyond our comprehension. But then, what about God! If the wonders of creation are beyond our understanding, what are we to say of its Creator!
Time and again the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes acknowledges that God and the ways of God are far beyond our comprehension. In this book of wisdom Solomon portrays God as painting on a canvas far too grand for mere mortals to grasp, or “to find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” Nevertheless, Solomon does want to reassure readers that “God has made everything suitable for its time.” Because of God there is in our wondrous world “A harmony of purpose and a beneficial supremacy of control pervade all issues of life to such an extent that they rightly challenge our admiration.” (H. C. Leopold, Exposition of Ecclesiastes)
So, what does the wise Solomon advise us to do in the face of such mystery and perplexity. While admitting there are matters far beyond our understanding, Solomon says there is something we can know, and know it for sure: “I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy and enjoy themselves as long as they live.” Throughout Ecclesiastes we are repeatedly told to enjoy life in the midst of life’s complexity and problems (2:24-26; 3:22; 5:18-20; 7:14; 9:7-10; 10:18-19; 11:8-9). Solomon wants us to know that God has our back! God has everything under control.
So, as we begin this week of Thanksgiving, Solomon tells us that “it is God’s gift that all should eat and drink and take pleasure in their toil.” Be happy and celebrate! This is God’s gift for you!
A fellow traveler,