The mess and the mystery - Hope 103.2

The mess and the mystery

By David ReayThursday 20 Oct 2016LifeWords DevotionalsFaithReading Time: 0 minutes


Read Ecclesiastes 1:16-18

16 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.

18           For with much wisdom comes much sorrow;

                   the more knowledge, the more grief. (NIV)

There is a certain sort of Christianity which sees life as a bit of a problem which has to be solved. Jesus or the Bible or my favourite Bible teacher will provide the answers. They can be relied upon to clean up the mess of life and explain the mysteries of life.

This is a misguided sort of Christianity. If one book of the Bible punctures such an illusion it is the book of Ecclesiastes. No simple answers or sunny optimism. No ‘three sure steps to a victorious life’. The writer plunges into life from the perspective of faith but with a clear-headed understanding of the complexities of life. Age and earthly power and knowledge are not solutions to the problems of life.

What saves this from being an exercise in despair is the fact that even if we can’t figure out what God might be doing, God knows what he is doing. Faith is not knowing what God is up to: faith is trusting that whatever he is up to it is good and right. I don’t have to figure God out in order to trust him.

Ultimately, life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be lived, and lived out in the light of a God whose first and last word to us is love.

David Reay