When things are going poorly in my life or when disappointments come I like to read the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. The title means “teacher” or “preacher” and is usually attributed to Solomon who was known for his outstanding wisdom.
Ecclesiastes has a different tone or feel than other books in the Bible. Listen to the first words in chapter 1: “‘Meaningless! Meaningless!'” says the Teacher. “‘Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.'” Verse 8 says; “All things are wearisome, more than one can say.” Here’s verse 16; “For the wise man, like the fool, will not be long remembered; in days to come both will be forgotten.” And listen to this; “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other” (6:14).
A little cynical and pessimistic, would you say? That’s what I like about it. No platitudes or sweet syrupy clichés. When life is hard the last thing I want is a superficial cheering up. Yeah, I know, as Christians we’re supposed to put on our Sunday morning smiley faces and say “Praise the Lord” every other sentence. But then this cool guy from Ecclesiastes comes along and tells it like it is. He doesn’t pretend that everything is sweetness and light. He doesn’t pretend that good always triumphs over evil or that there is always a happy ending.
Rather than discourage me, I feel encouraged when I read this book. I like the fact that God put it in there. It means He understands how we feel and He doesn’t expect us to pretend in either our feelings or thoughts. To me it means that God is real. Because He is real, I can be honest with Him and pour out all that I am going through and all that I feel. Yes, I like that very much. Preach it, brother!