Solomon, try as he might never really figured out ALL that there was to know. Some things, he admits, only God knows. Do the best you can with what you do know and leave the rest to God.
Solomon starts off this section of musings by saying something that I have said quite often. “Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.” He doesn’t say it quite so childishly but he means the same thing. “There are righteous people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the wicked, and there are wicked people to whom it happens according to the deeds of the righteous” (verse 14b). If this world were ‘fair’ it wouldn’t happen, or so we say.
But there is One who knows why such things are; God. Who knows what He has in mind as He orchestrates the universe and our individual lives. And, YES, I DO believe He has His hands on my life. I know that a LOT of my ‘bad things’ are results of my own doing. They are part of the process of getting me back to where I’m supposed to be with God. But there are other things that happen, like disease or disaster, that I had no part in. Even my car breaking down does not necessarily mean I have committed some sin. It is part of living in a fallen world. AND it can be part of God’s plan to bring me to a particular place for a particular reason. I don’t know why but HE DOES.
It’s hard watching someone you know has a heart towards God get taken by a wicked minded person. A friend of a friend lost a lawsuit against a very evil woman. He was her contractor and built her house exactly as she specified but when it came time to pay the bill, she claimed he used inferior material. After MANY months in the court system, she walked away without having to pay a penny to him. The judges’ statement bore out that he was in the right but his ruling went contrary anyway. I don’t know what God had for either of them to learn from this experience but I have NO DOUBT He had something in mind. The man lost his business as a result. But he still trusted in God.
Things like this can make one bitter or better. We can walk around yelling at God, “How could You!” and carrying hurt and anger over the bad times. Or we can fall on our knees and ask, “What now? What would You have me learn from this?” God can bring good out of ANY circumstance.
Several times now Solomon has said “Man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful” (verse 15b). But you get a slightly different ‘flavor’ this time. Solomon’s command to be joyful is so that joy can carry you through your ‘toil’ and hard times in life. Not a ‘Don’t worry, Be Happy’ song but a joy down in your very soul that says “It is well with my soul” because God in in control. I can rest in the assurance that God KNOWS what He is doing. And as His child, He is doing it on my behalf. Sometimes it has to hurt if it’s to heal.
One last thing I want to share before I go. I have seen God ‘fingerprints’ ALL OVER some of the most ridiculous “how could they be so wrong” moments. I have a feeling I may have shared this major mix up event before, but it fits perfectly with our “God knows what He is doing” lesson.
A while ago I received a UPS shipment of a large screen television. I hadn’t ordered one and none of my family had gifted me one. I tried to refuse it at the truck but the driver didn’t know how to handle that situation as he was brand new. He also showed me a sticker with my name and address on it affixed to the box. I took the package in the house and started looking it over. I found another small sticker with another name, address and phone number on it. I called the number listed and found the proper recipient of the package. As we were talking, I learned that her husband had just passed away and that she and her children were having a hard time dealing with it. I asked her if I could pray for her. She broke down in tears and readily accepted my offer. She then told me how that day had been especially hard for her as several things had happened. She had asked God for help but hadn’t seen or felt His hand move until that moment.
I FULLY believe that God had rerouted her package so He could show her how much He loved her. This mix up took MANY steps and DAYS in the making so that I could be there to offer her what she needed at that moment in time. He KNEW what she would need even before it was needed. Not only before she asked but before she needed it!
I’m not claiming some miraculous prayer abilities or that God worked a miracle in her life at that moment, but He put me in the place where I could offer her loving support in His name just when she needed it that day. He has done as much for me at times too. Orchestrating things before I even knew I would have a need.
Father God, THANK YOU for having Your fingers ALL OVER my life! Thank You for all the opportunities to grow, the corrections when needed, the encouragement along the way, and for all Your fingerprints left on my heart. I don’t have to worry about accidentally washing them off in a cleaning frenzy because they reach to my very core. I KNOW Your love. And I KNOW I can TRUST YOU with ALL of my tomorrows; with EVERY BREATH I BREATHE!
I know there will be times when people with evil intent ‘win’ too. This too is something You are working on. Help me remember to take the ‘long outlook’ attitude when I see this. For You DO know what You are doing there too!