the older you get, the more you realize how much the world sucks. I wish I weren’t writing that because it sounds negative, but sadly it’s true. it’s like humans can’t catch a break. people catch bad habits that hurt themselves and others; pandemics destroy communities; storms wreck the homes of fifty year olds. we have fights with the people we love most in the world. girls sit at computers in their homes for eight hours a day to make money, and it’s not their fault, they didn’t do anything wrong to get to that point, that’s just the way it is. children go hungry…

I want to know why god has left us here to deal with this horrible earth. why he hasn’t come and saved us yet. why do we have to go through all of this crap, this ache, this hard life. I prayed that he would answer this for me.

and he did. he told me that the answers lie in this giant book he left for us. in Ecclesiastes, where the wisest man in the world said that everything was indeed meaningless—all of our toils, all of our wisdom…

For in much wisdom is much vexation, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

commentary: Wisdom is a mixed blessing: to gain wisdom and understanding is to gain a clear view into the tragedies of life in a world marred by sin.

Eccl. 1:18

(that’s exactly how I feel!)

but then, he concluded that “there is nothing better for them that [humans] should be joyful and do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.”

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end

commentary: Despite the repetitiveness of the natural world, the Preacher can see that God has made everything beautiful in its time. The problem is that God has also placed eternity (that is, a sense that life continues beyond this present existence) into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. The Preacher thus realizes that both his desire to understand all of life, as well as the limitations on his ability to do so, have been ordained by God.

Eccl. 3:1

the answers lie in Job, where a blameless and upright man lost all of his seven children, his animals, and his servants; and then woke up with sores all over his body. at one point he was so dismayed that he lamented his own birth—his own existence in this difficult world.

Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures.

Job 3:20-21

his friends try to explain to him why God allows suffering, but none of them are correct. and then the Lord himself speaks to Job. in a whirlwind He explains how incredible the world is, how powerful God is, how intricately and majestically He manages all things, and how much we do not understand. in short, we live in a complex amazing world that at this stage is not designed to prevent suffering. Job is out of his league in questioning God’s just-ness. God invites him to trust in His wisdom and character.

the answers lie in Psalm 22, where David feels alone and as if none of his prayers have been answered.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I find no rest.

Psalm 22:1-2

but through the whole song, David’s description of his suffering is intertwined with a song of worship.

Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts. On you was I cast from my birth, and from my mother’s womb you have been my God.

Psalm 22:9-10

in conclusion, the Lord answered me. He answered me far more thoroughly and quickly than I expected, and I am in awe of him and very grateful. there is so much in this giant book—answers to questions I am often too faithless to ask out loud.

in conclusion, I am not capable of understanding all of the Lord’s ways. but despite the fact that suffering exists in this world, so also exist beauty, complexity, majestic-ness. there are so many amazing elements of this life. though I may suffer at times, in this life it is best that I enjoy all of the gifts God has given us on this incredible planet. eat and drink and take pleasure in all of my toil. so, in any season, this is what I will do. I will bask in the good parts, and in the beauty of all creation.

I love you, Lord ❤

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