Monday, December 12, 2016

Chasing the Wind: Of Pain and Sovereignty

In my last entry of the series, I didn't dwell on the text of Ecclesiastes in order to present some arguments that I'd need to return to later. In retrospect, my discussion on God's sovereignty would have been all the better for consideration of the following text, although it was already lengthy enough. My purpose last time was addressing the criticism that our actions and lives cannot be meaningful if they cannot actually change the outcome. God's sovereignty, in that consideration, prevents us from having Meaning because nothing we do matters.

Although I did address this argument, it turns out there's another aspect of God's sovereignty which weighs on the heart.
For everything there is an appointed time, and an appropriate time for every activity on earth: 
A time to be born, and a time to die;
     a time to plant, and a time to uproot what was planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
     a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
     a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones;
     a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to search, and a time to give something up as lost;
     a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to rip, and a time to sew;
     a time to keep silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate;
     a time for war, and a time for peace. 
What benefit can a worker gain from his toil?  I have observed the burden that God has given to people to keep them occupied. God has made everything fit beautifully in its appropriate time, but he has also placed ignorance in the human heart so that people cannot discover what God has ordained, from the beginning to the end of their lives.
I have concluded that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to enjoy themselves as long as they live, and also that everyone should eat and drink, and find enjoyment in all his toil, for these things are a gift from God. 
I also know that whatever God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken away from it. God has made it this way, so that men will fear him. Whatever exists now has already been, and whatever will be has already been; for God will seek to do again what has occurred in the past. - Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 (NET)