“I have seen something else under the sun:
The race is not to the swift
or the battle to the strong,
nor does food come to the wise
or wealth to the brilliant
or favor to the learned;
but time and chance happen to them all.
12 Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come:
As fish are caught in a cruel net,
or birds are taken in a snare,
so people are trapped by evil times
that fall unexpectedly upon them,” Ecclesiastes 9:11-12
Sunday’s sermon hit a place in my heart I haven’t been ready to pilgrimage through. The harshness of death was brought to the forefront as we examined this passage.
The book of Ecclesiastes is altogether full of hope, and the meaninglessness of life. Two perspectives we have all surely gone between. Hidden in these ironies is a wealth of wisdom, if we open our hearts to receive it.
Dive with me for a minute.
The books main author, Solomon, is said to have been the wealthiest and wisest man to have ever lived. By today’s distinctions, he could be called a New York Times Best Selling Author, Forbes Wealthiest Man, GQ’s Most Handsome Man of the Year, Time’s Most Influential Person, you get the idea. But at the end of his days, he found what all do, the same fate we all share and pondered the same things we have.
Why do we suffer such loss? How does a good God let death come to both the good and the evil? How are we to spend our days in light of Eternity?
Picking up a paper or scrolling the news on any given day will beckon us to ask these very same questions. When we lose a loved one, when our blue family grieves another loss.
We know that Solomon reminds us, “All share a common destiny—the righteous and the wicked, the good and the bad, the clean and the unclean, those who offer sacrifices and those who do not.
As it is with the good,
so with the sinful;
as it is with those who take oaths,
so with those who are afraid to take them.,” verse 2.
Did you catch that? “As it is with those who take oaths, so with those who are afraid to take them.” I have never noticed that outlined in these lamentations from Solomon is a striking reminder that even our Heroes, those who take oaths, do not know what fate awaits them. Such is the human condition.
Blaise Pascal describes death in a morbid, terrifying sort of way. He describes a party where the guests are enthralled in conversation, drinking, and eating. When all of a sudden a vicious monster opens the ballroom door and grabs one of the guests. They all stop and stare for moments after…Then they begin to return to their conversations as if nothing had happened. This is how we act toward death he says. We all know it lingers outside the ballroom of our life but we carry on as if it doesn’t. Is that a bad thing? Should we be lying in wait, anticipating the return of the vicious monster?
Learning to number our days is to walk in wisdom.
However as wives and those who have experienced a LODD close to home, its important that fear does not control our everyday lives. Wrestling between our mortality and why the good guys fall is one of the heaviest journeys I’ve been on yet as a police wife. Understanding time and purpose is something I don’t know if I’ll ever grasp.
In our hearts we try to reason. We try to understand how someone with so much to live for could be taken so abruptly from us.
It seems unfair and by all accounts, it is. How can the same fate come to us all. Does the way we spend our days not matter to a loving God? Of course it does. What would cause God to put such a heavy loss on loved ones left behind? For that only Heaven knows.
Verse 3, “This is the evil in everything that happens under the sun: The same destiny overtakes all.”
Trusting in the goodness of God after a verse like this can be challenging to say the least. I know, I’ve been there the last six months.
This one thing I do know, we must live in light of Eternity. We must accept that the very end that can bring such pain can also bring freedom. We must believe, above all, that when the Good Guys fall, God is heartbroken. He too is reliving the pain of death felt by watching His Son die. He has been where we are. He has seen the darkest evil in men and the honor and selflessness one holds to lay down their life for another. This is our reconciliation.
I’ve hardly had the emotional energy to course these waters but the hurt deep inside from such tragedy calls me to do just that. A path to healing is a path paved with trust. Trust in something and someone bigger than us. Without this trust, the thought of sending my Officer out the door for another shift would be overwhelming.
“But you, you God, are the most faithful of friends, the most trustworthy of confidants, and the most gracious of Fathers.” Words given to me in one of the darkest days and I offer them to you today. Meditate on them, trust them.
“You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book,” Psalm 56:8. There will come a day when we will remember the toiling of this life no more.
Always Praying For You.