The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem:
says the Teacher.
Everything is meaningless.”
What do people gain from all their labors
at which they toil under the sun?
Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.
The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.
- Ecclesiastes 1:1-6
For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain.
- Titus 1:10-11
If the whole universe has no meaning, we should have never found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.
- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
For the past few months, I could easily drop into a funk, like king Solomon. The word ‘meaningless’ is in the NIV 37 time. It appears once in Job, Isaiah, 1 Timothy and Titus. It appears in Ecclesiastes 33 times. The NIV provides division and titles for changing topics. For the first few chapters of Ecclesiastes, according to the NIV, Solomon goes from Everything is meaningless to Wisdom, then Pleasure, then Wisdom and Folly, and finally Toil.
While it seems that everything has been meaningless in my life for the past three months, Toil seems to top the list. I have so little resources after a lifetime of hard work and if things get worse, I may be back at work. I doubt if anyone would hire someone approaching 70 for a professional career position. Besides, I have not made an engineering calculation in a long time.
As of this writing, my son has not worked toward a paycheck since early November, due to mental, neurological, and physical problems. The therapy is slower than expected and extremely costly. The doctors keep making medical adjustments and refusing to sign the papers allowing him to return to work.
My wife had surgery mid-November. There was no sign of cancer, but she is still not adjusted to her new body with half her thyroid and parathyroid removed. In spite of that, she is babysitting our son’s youngest while our daughter-in-law goes to school.
I had a scare in mid-November as well with a stress test showing blockage in my heart, but the subsequent heart catheterization showed little blockage. The follow-up from the heart cath. marks the start of medication adjustments to lower my blood pressure a little, hoping that will help with the shortness of breath and swelling in the lower extremities.
This does not even address the issues with our older son. I wrote about two nieces recently. One had surgery and, like my wife, there was no evidence of cancer. The other is indeed homeless, stranded in west Texas in a shelter.
A friend said that Satan is working overtime with my family. The assumption was that my family had Satan worried. Many years ago, I heard the same thing from an evangelist that I had arranged to speak for a weekend at our church. Maybe there is truth to that. When the bad things in your life start to pile up, Satan thinks he has a reason to do that. The life of Job, acted out again and again to test who remains faithful to God.
But God is stronger than the demons. I have one artery with an insignificant amount of blockage, easily fixed. My wife and one niece have no evidence of cancer. The other niece has a roof over her head for now. My younger son is learning more ways to claim victory over his fears and problems, and we pray he’ll show further improvement this week so that he can be back to work next week. And we still have a few pennies in the bank. And now that our accounts are depleted, there is less there to count. (Sorry, old, and not so funny, joke.)
All these things, I consider as praise to God. God is faithful and shows great mercy.
I do a lot of praying when it comes to these blog posts. I do not want to be like Titus 10:11 suggests and have people warned to not listen. Maybe there are blog writers that we should not listen to. I admit that I have made mistakes, and I especially want to thank Kathy at A Time to Share and Salvageable for their suggested corrections. We need to be left accountable for our words.
Life is not meaningless when we turn our eyes away from our sorrows and to the One who makes sense out of everything. I weep for those who have the same problems, or similar ones to those I just mentioned, and they do not have Jesus in their hearts. To them, life is meaningless.
Yet, for me, I see God in everything. Praise to God, our mighty King, ruler of all the nations.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.