The wisdom literature of the Bible intrigues me, especially the book of Ecclesiastes. The so-called Preacher, probably Solomon, evaluates life and determines it appears chaotic. There is seemingly no rhyme or reason why, for instance, righteous people suffer while wicked people prosper, but it happens. It happens quite often.
Proverbs claims life is black and white. The Preacher of Ecclesiastes interrupts to say, “No, I don’t think so.” Job, the third book in the trilogy, argues both points as Job and his friends attempt to make sense of God’s judicial methods in light of Job’s seemingly underserved circumstances. Is life as random as it so often appears?
The Preacher concludes his observations with this exhortation: “Remember your Creator” (Ecc 12:1). Job adds the profound question from God himself, ”Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” (Job 38:4). Is this world a random mess? The answer is no. God has been in full control from the beginning, but that doesn’t mean we can always understand what he is doing or why. After all, for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are his ways higher than our ways and his thoughts than our thoughts (Isa 55:9).
This truth comes to my mind every time my wife uses the nose-sucker on our infant daughter. Our baby girl never fails to scream and fight it, but her mother is torturing her for her own good. She just doesn’t understand yet. She’s too young and immature to realize the unpleasant tube up her nose will help her breathe moments later.
We’re not so different. We, too, fight against our hardships as though they’re aberrations of God’s plan. No, they are God’s plan. For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecc 3:1).
We may not grasp what is happening to us, but we can still trust the One who created us, sustains us, and loves us. Whether he leads us through lands of milk and honey or drags us through the barren desert, his will is good and, most remarkable, always for our good. I find immense comfort in that.