Tag Archives: uncertainty

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God and Uncertainty

Solomon began Ecclesiastes declaring all is vanity under the sun. In chapter 11, we look “beyond his gloomy vistas to see God.” (McComiskey) In spite of life’s uncertainties and the certainty of death, we can enjoy life this side of eternity. Derrick Kidner offers a concise conclusion to the book, “Be bold! Be joyful! Be godly!”

person-864804_960_720The following are notes from William Barrick’s commentary of Ecclesiastes:

What a person doesn’t know (11:1-6)

V1       Cast – send, let loose

The numbers 7 or 8 are representative of an infinite number

This passage is similar in meaning to the parable of the talents (Matt 25)

The man who doesn’t invest is the one condemned in the parable

V2       This proverb suggests being charitable in either an agricultural or maritime pursuit. Investment, risk, and faith are involved – it is a call to act

clouds-806636_960_720        The future – is hidden, uncertain

V3       Man doesn’t know when rain comes or when a tree will fall, however, these are covered in God’s plan.

V4       If one waits for perfect conditions (to sow or to reap) they run the risk of crop loss or failure

V5       Man can’t see patterns of the wind or growth of bones in an unborn child but God controls both. He governs things that people are not in control of.

V6       Seems to convey the idea that man must work continuously (a full days work) in order to see the harvest. We must be busy (active, in motion) for God to steer us and bring success

Derek Tidball offers this takeaway

  • Don’t be paralyzed by inevitability
  • Don’t be paralyzed by speculation
  • Don’t be paralyzed by ignorance.

Galatians 6:9  “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

Rejoice in the light (11:7,8)

V7       Rejoice – enjoy life don’t just endure it.

V8       Remember the dark times (they are many): suffering, old age, dying

Trials serve to make the joy we do encounter sweeter

Vanity – is defined as a breath, vapor

Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made let us be glad and rejoice in it”

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Again rejoice (11:9,10)

V9       Embrace youth while you are young, all too soon adulthood comes.

4 times previously in this chapter we are encouraged to be busy in the context of “we do not know.” In verse 9 we are told “yet know” God will judge us. Priority must be given to doing the will of God, not following our own desires (in other words, don’t make your desires a priority)

v10     Remove the pain, grief and anger from your heart, otherwise we will miss the pleasant things of life. Deal with issues of pain, grief and anger but don’t allow them to rule your life. Childhood and the prime of life is fleeting

Chapter 11 sets the stage for the closing section of Ecclesiastes, a theme of old age and end-of life experiences. Solomon transitions from “seeing the sun” (residing in God’s will) to a reminder that life “under the sun” eventually brings death.

Change

Change, I don’t like it much.  As stressful as the status quo may be, change could make it worse.  Change always brings even more stress along with it.  I’m not about to say that I have no use for change, however.

There has been times in my life when change is temporary and planned.  I welcome those changes such as a vacation, the change of seasons, or retreating to a special place or activity.

When change is permanent, however, it becomes the enemy of the status quo and people like me who want to control every aspect of their lives.  “Why can’t I just go back to the way things were?”

I recently was tasked with trying to help a loved one cope with a life altering change in her life.  One day she was living independently, surrounded by an accumulation of belongings, content to be visited by a few faithful friends.  Now, after a two week hospital stay she has transitioned to a nursing home, uncertain if this is a temporary or permanent change.

In an effort to prepare her for the worst case scenario, I tried to use reason to communicate to her.  Examples of marriage, childbirth, and the death of a spouse came to mind.  Each event suddenly altered life and you couldn’t go back. This could be one of those times.

The uncertainty of change of this magnitude causes one to reorder priorities. Things we weren’t motivated to do before become necessary or even vital. Cherished possessions become a meaningless burden.  We seek to bargain our way back to the status quo.

Christians are given a grappling hook the moment they enter a personal relationship with their Savior, Jesus Christ.  We can attach ourselves to someone greater, stronger, mightier, and more merciful than ourselves, our situation, or our fate.  Maybe that’s why the song, “Trust in You,” by Lauren Daigle resonates so well with my heart in moments like this one.

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“Trust In You”

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I’ve tried to win this war I confess
My hands are weary I need Your rest
Mighty Warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face, You’re by my side 

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

Truth is, You know what tomorrow brings
There’s not a day ahead You have not seen
So, in all things be my life and breath
I want what You want Lord and nothing less

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

You are my strength and comfort
You are my steady hand
You are my firm foundation; the rock on which I stand

Your ways are always higher
Your plans are always good
There’s not a place where I’ll go, You’ve not already stood

When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move
When You don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through
When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You!

I will trust in You!
I will trust in You!
I will trust in You!