Have you ever noticed that, more often than not, life simply doesn’t make sense? So many things happen to you, by you and around you that just make you say “Hmm?” Life is an enigma – a mystery.
Yes, there are times when we all think that we’ve got this whole life thing figured out. We feel, for a moment, that we’re in control. That we’re the masters of our own destiny. And then – WHAM – out of the blue we make a decision or someone else makes a decision that affects us in ways that we never intended, wanted or desired. We find ourselves puzzled and somewhat defeated. Thinking, “What’s the use?”
Well, welcome to the club! And we are in good company. King Solomon, who died in 931 BC, was the son of King David (Remember David and Goliath?). He was the King of Israel for 39 years, from 970 to 931 BC. During his reign he built the very first Temple in Jerusalem. One of the original walls of that Temple is still visible today and is a sacred pilgrimage place for Jews as well as Christians.
Solomon experienced it all. The lineage of David. And the wealth, power and fame of being the King. He strayed from his faith and then returned. He was a prolific writer. He wrote Song of Songs, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. In Ecclesiastes, believed to be written near the end of his life, he stated: “So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 8:15)
If you’ve never read Ecclesiastes, I encourage you to take some time and read it. It’s real. It’s raw. And, for me, it’s proof that the Bible is true. Because it would have been so easy to leave Ecclesiastes out or to edit it in order to make it more proper and palatable. But, here it is, in all its realness, for all of us to read.
Solomon knew, just like we all know, that life doesn’t always make sense. Yet, he, in all his wisdom, encourages us to enjoy life as much as we can, whenever we can. Not because one day we will die. But because the joy that we experience in our lives will serve us well when the “toil” comes. When life doesn’t make sense, the joy that we experience will carry us and help us to keep going.
Enjoying life is a gift from God. A gift that, just like any other gift, is only good if it’s opened and experienced. When you find yourself struggling with the parts of life that just don’t make any sense – the wars in Israel and Ukraine, human trafficking, politics, inflation, global warming… Remember Solomon’s wisdom. May you open the gift of enjoyment in your life, that which you can control; so as to overcome the enigmas of life, over which you have no control.