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NIV is used unless otherwise noted.

Incomprehensible: Day 4

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… 
Ecclesiastes 3:11

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing can be taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

When I was growing up and would lodge a protest with my mother about how I had been mistreated or how she had hurt my feelings in some regard, my mother’s reply would be, “Well, that’s the way it is.”

Neither does Solomon offer any apologies in the sugar-coating free zone called Ecclesiastes. Those who chalk this marvelous book up to the cranky memoirs of a disillusioned old man miss a lot. They lose essential information for a healthy and realistic outlook on life, as well as a good starting place for spiritual formation.

From these two verses here are four lessons and their take-aways:

God has made our world, and infused each chapter of our life with its own beauty. (Look for that beauty and celebrate it. More importantly, be open to changing your understanding of what is beautiful.)

Something in all of us that knows instinctively that there is more than this life. This is a gift of God. However, we cannot comprehend it because it is eternal and beyond the limits of our humanity. (Live today in light of what you understand to be of eternal value. Then you will have no regrets at the end—and beyond.)

The enduring creation around us is a witness to both an ageless God and the brevity of our life. (When you are troubled by your circumstances, walk outside on a clear night and give your situation to the One who both set the stars in their places and holds them there.)

The limits of our humanity, the innate assurance that there is another dimension we have not yet experienced and the awesomeness of the created world are meant to elicit one response: Reverence for the God who has done it all.

That’s the way it is…

Nancy Shirah

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