Life is tough. The daily grind is filled with unfairness that sometimes begs for an answer to "Why?"
It's not fair, especially when or one of our own receives a difficult diagnosis, or loses a job, or gets the raw end of a deal. It can be enough to make a person shake their fist at God in anger and frustration.
In another vein, the world is full of people who are destroying themselves while they search for happiness in places where it will never be found. Too many put the value of possessions over the value of relationships. The driving pursuit of 'more' can feel like being on a merry-go-round that won't stop.
So, the daily grind churns with various consequences of anger and frustration at making poor decisions with the resulting losses that keep coming in through the door.
When we look at the much-loved passage in the third chapter of Ecclesiastes, we see that there is a time for everything. It's all appointed. God is in charge, and it's all good.
Solomon's point in this section is that God has a plan for each person. He gives cycles of life, each with its work for us to do. And these cycles are opportunities to discover that, without God, life's problems have no lasting solutions.
It's important to remember that God's timing is not always in sync with our timetable. We may, for example, plan to live until age 90, and some of us will; but God has already decided the length of my days and yours, before we were formed in our mother's womb.
We aren't supposed to understand God's ways; we're not God. And we will never be content with our lives on earth, because we are created for eternity. We have eternal value, and nothing but God can truly satisfy us.
Jesus was familiar with poverty, abandonment, and suffering. He was falsely accused and tortured by men. He was the only innocent man who ever lived, and He had to bear the full wrath of God against sin.
But, Jesus knew who was in control. He knew that everything that happened was to be for His and our highest good, our salvation.
If God can redeem the suffering of Christ, then He can redeem our suffering as well.
So, instead of withdrawing into misery from life's grinding unfairness, let's allow those same uncertainties to make us more faithful to God.
The reason God is sovereign is to bring us comfort and hope to hang in there when life doesn't cooperate with our expectations.
Life is tough, but, it is still good. It's wonderful to be alive. Our job is to honor God with every breath we take.
Bonnie Donnelly is a member of the First Presbyterian Church in Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Christy Hudson at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, if a Thoughts of Faith column is written at the writer's convenience and sent to The Times, it will run the first available date.