Lent Devotional: Ecclesiastes 9

by Jonathan Haefs

Ecclesiastes 9 (click here)
Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all. 12 For man does not know his time. Like fish that are taken in an evil net, and like birds that are caught in a snare, so the children of man are snared at an evil time, when it suddenly falls upon them. (Ecclesiastes 9:11-12)

Why are we surprised when evil, suffering, and pain come upon us? Why do we all fall prey to the false notion “that could never happen to me…”? We clearly see that this world is broken and full of suffering, but somehow we continue to think that we are immune so that when suffering comes we are as surprised as a bird caught in a snare.

This self-deception runs deeper than simply thinking suffering will not come for us…the root lie we actually tell ourselves is this, “I am in control.” Through pursuing health, wealth, knowledge, power, beauty, popularity, etc we find a false sense of security as if any of these things put us in a position to control our lives.

Yet, if we do what Solomon does…step back and observe the world…we see that suffering is no respecter of persons. Pain and death come for the righteous and unrighteous, the wealthy and poor, the healthy and unhealthy, the wise and the foolish. Nothing under the sun provides any kind of permanent promise.  If we are honest, when we look to ourselves and all that we possess…there is nothing in which to put our faith.

That is why we must look away from ourselves. We may not know our time or what suffering is headed our way, but we can trust the one who does…God. We can trust his promises that he is with us amidst all our suffering and will bring us through it all into eternal joy-filled rest in himself. He is the only one that can make permanent promises…so he is the only one in whom we place our faith.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.