Updated: Nov 2
Many believers are wondering what lies ahead in our strange, post-Covid, postmodern, post-Christian
society. Questions proliferate and tumble in our heads:
Will the government micromanage us from now on?
Will we ever be free again to voice dissent on our college campuses?
Will disappointed voters express their discontent with physical violence?
Angst wells up within us. But anxious attempts to predict turn out to be sterile. We don’t know what’s going to happen. No one can foretell future events. That’s the very crux of the dread of the unknown--it tempts us to react in fear.
Thankfully, there’s a better way to relate to coming days. We can take steps forward in calm assurance because the Lord is holding our hand (Psalm 37:24). I find it strangely warming that God alone knows the secrets of tomorrow (Deuteronomy 29:29).
In the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, the Spirit of the Lord who inspired the Holy Scriptures instructs us how to frame--and not frame-- our musings.
First, we learn not to ask questions for the purpose of figuring out what “advantage” there is for ourselves “under the sun.” King Solomon learned the hard way that life is not a quest for personal profit. Reigning as the richest-ever ruler in the world, Solomon understood that wealth and plenty are bountiful gifts from God, but that trying to get ahead by treating everyone else as a rival overlooks the meaning of life (Ecclesiastes 4:4).
Second, we find this startling commandment: “Do not say, ‘Why is it that the former days were better than these?’ for it is not from wisdom that you ask this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
Third, we are instructed to look to God as God as we recall our own mortality. See Ecclesiastes 7:13-14.
“Consider the work of God. For who is able to straighten what He has bent?
In the day of prosperity be happy, but in the day of adversity consider -- God has made one as well as the other, so that Man [humankind] may not discover anything that will be after.”
And now Ecclesiastes 9:12.
“Moreover, Man [humankind] does not know his/her time: Like fish caught in a treacherous net, and birds trapped in a snare, so the sons of men are ensnared at an evil time when it suddenly falls on them.”
Each of us already is queued up to die unless our time to go is intercepted by Christ’s imminent return. We don’t have to fear Covid or a swelling government or anything else for that matter.
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 summarizes Solomon’s advice:
“Fear God and keep His commandments because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”
Sometime ago I noticed that the Bible tells us plainly in Psalm 90:12 what our goal should be in life as a result of all our efforts to obey the law of Christ, and that is this: “To present to God a heart of wisdom.”
At the end of your life, when you breathe your last breath, you get to show God your heart. Will your heart be developed and exercised by the discipline of fearing the Lord in gratitude and worship? Will you have learned to count on God to help you be mature enough to take responsibility for yourself? Will you have learned how to love?
What does it mean to have a heart of wisdom?
Ah, now that’s a good question to carry and embrace. We can formally pause to pray and think about it together more in January 2021 in an upcoming course called “Pause to Think and Pray,” and informally engage in dialogue and thoughtfulness even now with each other and God.
Trusting Him anew,
Sarah Sumner, Ph.D., MBA
President, Right On Mission