Ecclesiastes 3, verses 11 and 12 says, “He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in its time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God]—yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good as long as they live.” (Amplified Bible)
The first part of this scripture lets us know that regardless of our circumstances, we can rejoice in our God and praise Him, because we know He holds everything in His hands – and that includes you and me. So, even when difficult times arise, we can rest securely in Him.
There are times when we think our circumstances are hopeless and we feel helpless. We can’t see anything good in them or how anything good could ever come out of them. All we can see is darkness. In those times we need to wait on the Lord. We have His promise that as we wait on Him, He will renew our strength. Our focus needs to be on Him as we wait, not on our problems.
Matthew Henry tells us to “judge nothing before the time.” In other words, wait and see the end of the thing before you gauge its worth or purpose. He continues, saying, “While the picture is in drawing, and the house in building, we see not the beauty of either; but when the artist has given them their finishing strokes, then all appears very good.”
As of this writing, a friend of mine and her husband are in the process of building their house. I don’t mean they have hired someone to do it and are diligently watching over the process. They are literally building the house with their own hands. The progress is slow and they have been at it for a long time. Their progress has been slowed down by rain, cold and waiting for materials to arrive, but they haven’t quit. They continue to work. Right now the house is far less than adequate to live in because it isn’t finished. But they keep working because they know that the end result will be much different than it is while it is still in the building process. When it is all finished, they will have a house to shelter them and one to be proud of in the future. What they see right now is not the end result. They will have to wait for the finishing strokes.
When all we can see is evil, chaos and hopelessness, we can rest assured that God hasn’t put in the finishing strokes yet. He is not through. God sees the beginning, middle, and the end all at the same time. He knows ahead of time how every circumstance in our lives will turn out. And He is in control. We have His promise that He will work all things (good and bad) for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. We can trust Him.
This Scripture in Ecclesiastes tells us something else that is of great importance to us and has a tremendous impact on our lives. It tells us that God has planted eternity in the human heart. It is a mysterious longing that nothing in this world can satisfy. It is amazing that most people try to fill it with things and relationships of this world. There is a longing in the human soul that searches for purpose, a chance to make a difference, and to be fulfilled. Not on the outside with “things”, but on the inside with real, lasting peace, purpose and harmony with God. God made us that way to draw us to Himself and to the wonderful kingdom we can share with Him.
So, every heart reaches out for something beyond themselves and beyond the confines of this world system. That “something” can only be found in Jesus Christ and the new life that comes when He awakens our spirit and we are born into the kingdom of God.
Those of us who know Him, and have found new life in His kingdom need to share that message with others. But it seems as if we are missing something and neglecting to share the true essence, the depth and life of God’s truth, His grace, and His teachings. And a lot of people are still spiritually starving. Some people don’t want any part of Jesus because He has been misrepresented by so many in the church.
People need to see Jesus in us in His power, His love, His teachings and His grace. They need to see the Jesus who walked the shores of Galilee and taught the people with simple, yet life-changing words. Jesus, Who spoke with power and authority. Others can only see Jesus as He works through us, as we humbly follow Him and share His teachings and show His love and His power. We all need the very essence of Jesus, not the religious piety of man or the trappings of religion. We need the presence of Jesus constantly with us. We all need the Holy Spirit of God at work in us. Those who meet Jesus face to face allow Him to change their lives so they can follow Him. Their spirits are awakened and they become brand new creatures. Those who are not changed are not in the kingdom of God. They may accept the rites of the church and join, keeping the rules, but they will lack the power of the Spirit in their lives. They will remain the same within.
If you were invited to a formal dinner, when you arrived, you would probably see the best china and silverware all set in perfect order on the table along with glistening crystal goblets.
The napkins may even be folded into the pretty shape of flowers, and the table decorations may be the most beautiful anyone has ever seen. The background music may be perfect for the occasion and all the serving dishes in place.
Even with all that has been prepared, if there is no food in the plates or drink in the goblets, the people will go hungry and thirsty. They will leave no better than they were before they came. They will remain hungry because superficial decorations could not fill them. They came and saw the beauty but did not partake, so they left empty.
What are we offering to those who are hungry and thirsty for Jesus? Are we offering them the superficial plates, glasses and decorations only? Are we offering them music without worship and messages without Jesus’ teachings? What are we offering those who have not had the longing of their hearts satisfied?
Jesus tells us that He is the Bread of life. If we eat this spiritual bread, we will not hunger again. Jesus said that He is the living water. When we drink this water, we will never thirst again, because we will have a river of living water flowing in and through us.
When we eat the Bread of His Word and drink the water of His Spirit, we will be filled and refreshed. Our soul’s hunger will be satisfied day by day, because He is living in us day by day.
The trappings surrounding a good meal cannot take the place of the meal itself. Neither can the trappings of religion or the things of this world fill a hungry heart. We must experience Jesus for ourselves and make the choice to daily eat the Bread of His Word and drink the water of His Spirit. When we do, we can be vessels of hope and peace to those who are hungry and thirsty for more.
Let’s offer the Bread of Life to the hungry and the Living Water to the thirsty. Don’t offer them the shell of religion, but the life of the Spirit of God. The trappings of a good meal cannot take the place of the meal itself. Neither can the trappings of religion or the things of this world fill a hungry heart.
Maybe you are still searching to fill that soul hunger. What are you trying to fill it with? It can never be filled with busyness, a new house, a new car, or a new spouse. Even money, fame, honor and prestige will still leave the emptiness intact. Only Jesus can satisfy the longing soul, because only Jesus can cleanse us from sin and awaken our spirit to fellowship with Him. Only Jesus can make us truly, spiritually alive!
The pull of eternity in our hearts can only be filled by Jesus.
And when he makes us alive, we are truly alive!