It's Good Friday. I told my daughter, yesterday, that today, Good Friday, was going to be a day we would treat differently. We wouldn't spend the day trying to do what we wanted, when we wanted to, as though we had all control and power over our life, as though we were in complete control over our destiny and there was No One who held our life in Their Hands.
So I started my day, after my husband left for work, feeling a bit puzzled as to what I should do next. I found myself drawn to the book of Ecclesiastes, and I do mean, literally, the book. I read it through- from chapter 1 to Chapter12. It reads like a friend talking to you, who has questions about life, advice gleaned from experience, and a great respect for the unknown and the unseen things of God. It addresses so many issues of life and then, in the end, answers none of these issues- because, really, it's all a mystery.
I knew a pastor who spent every New Years Eve at the local Garbage Dump, reading the book of Ecclesiastes. He said that was the best way for him to start the New Year. He was a melancholy contemplative sort of guy, and I loved how he addressed the agonies in life and answered so few of my questions and how I had more questions than ever after he preached. Not more confusion, mind you- just questions. And I think that's the sign of a good pastor and a wise man.
Maybe Good Friday is my New Years Eve. I'll skip going to the dump because our town dump is not a quiet place to be. I'll commemorate this day that Christ was crucified by recognizing my life begins because of His death. I can have a Happy New Year and a joyful new day because of what He did for me. This is one thing I know for sure. This is not a mystery- the fact that He died and rose again. It's truth. But it is a mystery why He loved us so, why He loves us still. It is a mystery how He leads us and how He guides us and where we are going and why we are where we are.
Here's what I gleaned from today's reading: "Truth is beyond us. It's far too deep" (Eccl 7:24)- but that doesn't mean I shouldn't seek the Truth. I also contemplated what the Writer was alluding to: that what God does and what I actually see happen may be two different things. What I think I see God doing in my life may not be what is actually occurring! (Eccl 8:17). If I share with you my plans for this week and then tell you next year that I never wound up doing what I planned to do, you shouldn't be surprised.
It's like sitting at the local Dump and thinking you smell roses. Life can be that way. You can think you are heading toward a God ordained thing- and find out you don't see God anywhere in the picture. Or God can be definitely at work in your life and you don't see a single blessed thing.
Or you may think you are so on the right path and suddenly find yourself at a dead end.
The writer of Ecclesiastes would probably nod his head and say, "Yes." Yes to our misunderstanding what God is doing in our life. Yes to the fact that we could smell roses at a Dump. Yes to the hunger we have to know what is going on. Yes to the fact that we glimpse a bit of His Hand at work, here and there, now and then- and don't realize what a privilege it was to have had that glimpse into majesty.
I also found out that in addition to spiritual things like respect for God and right living, the writer of this book thinks you also need some very practical things to make it in this life. Things like hard work, good food to eat, real guts, courage, and the nerve to do something even when you are not even sure it will make any difference at all. "You never harvest what you didn't have the nerve to plant" he writes (Contemporary English Version).
It's a holy day today. But its also just another day. It's Friday- but it's also New Years Eve for me. Because something new is happening. I see some things, and then again, I don't know what the heck is going on in my life at all. As in the dark as I am, I'm also wise- for knowing that I know barely anything at all, except for the most important thing, the fact that HE LIVES. And everything else in my life can take its place under that Fact.