Wisdom from Ecclesiastes

I recently heard a pastor quote Ecclesiastes 7:14 (NIV).

When times are good, be happy;
But when times are bad, consider:
God had made the one
as well as the other.
Therefore, a man cannot discover
anything about his future.

I’ll admit that it’s not been an easy year for me, in more ways than one.  The same is true for many of my friends—job loss, car accidents, and the death of loved ones top their lists of very difficult times.  It would be easy complain, cry, and get angry (and I’ll admit I’ve done all three).

But this verse brings me back to a truth we need to always remember—God is sovereign, and in complete control of both the good and the bad.  Not that God is the author of bad, because He isn’t.  Adam’s sin brought death, disease, and suffering into this world, and as descendants of Adam we possess a sin nature and live in a cursed world.  However, God is in complete control of Satan, and nothing happens outside of His plan.

Sometimes God chooses to remedy the bad by resolving the situation—Hannah was barren and then allowed to give birth to Samuel.  Sometimes God chooses not to—my friends, after 17 years of marriage, gave birth to a baby girl who lived for one week.  Despite the different outcomes, God was present, and nothing happened outside of His plan for both Hannah and my friends.

I have found myself repeating this phrase a lot recently—God is good (Psalm 118:1), God is on the throne (Psalm 47:8), and God has a plan (Jeremiah 29:11).  That plan includes using both the good and the bad things in our lives to bring us closer to Him, and to help us become more like Him.  Sometimes it’s not about making us happy, but rather about making us holy.