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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Here is the Truth: Can you Handle it? Day 5

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men, yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
Eccl. 3:11

Lesson 4: Life under the sun is a mystery.

We do not know what God is doing. We would like to; sometimes, we even pretend that we do. However, Solomon assures us that we can’t fathom either the fullness or the intricacy of His plan. The Teacher’s final truth for us is to accept and rest in that mystery.

Solomon tells us that “everything is beautiful in its time.” Perhaps your time is anything but beautiful just now. However, the word often translated “beautiful” here in the NIV is also translated, in other highly reliable versions, “appropriate.” We think of beauty as a subjective judgment; what we personally find pleasing and delightful. The beauty that Solomon speaks of is the beauty of exactly the right thing. And, of course, it is exactly right because it is in accordance with God’s plan.

Since God has set eternity in our hearts we have longings and needs that only eternal things can satisfy. But we try. And in the trying we attempt to make people or things that were intended to be the best gift for a specific season fill the eternal void God placed in us.

That is why Solomon reminds us that neither the physical world nor the human mind are ultimately helpful guides in understanding God and His plan. They are single, isolated pieces of the puzzle where the puzzle is 5000 pieces and the picture on the box is missing. But, be assured, there is a picture!

Now let’s circle back to the beginning of the week: This year I will celebrate the highly-acclaimed three score and ten. In the last few years, I have said farewell to my parents as well as welcoming ten grand-children. I have lived in many places and made friends in each of them. Together my husband and I have cleaned out four homes and disposed of three generations of family belongings. I understand the sadness that comes with loss, and the regret of missed opportunities and misplaced priorities, even as I stand amazed at God’s grace to me when I have so clearly and so often missed the mark.  

What Solomon’s words remind me to do is to dig in to today. By faith, today is all we have and all we need. Whatever this day brings, God intends it for our good and our growth. Seek the contentment and joy of this day as “beautiful” gifts from the Hand of God. Accept both the tasks and challenges that are placed before you as the means He is using to accomplish your eternal sanctification – because I can assure you, they are.

Nancy Shirah    

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