Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Wisdom of Ecclesiastes Confronts My Weak Heart

Tomorrow is my first day of work. It's a 5 hour shift--not too bad. However, it is during rush hour and it is also the day before the fourth. This will most likely mean two things: impatient customers on their way home from work and lots of people buying alcohol (which means I'll be carding). Did I already tell you all that I carded two people on Friday? I did. And another of the cashiers in training had to turn someone away for having a fake ID. The lamination was pealing up (that doesn't happen to normal licenses...nice try, buddy). All I have to say is, if youngsters try to get by me because I am donning a beautiful yellow name tag that says "I'm new at Fry's, thank you for your patience" they can think again! Andrea will show no mercy! Haha. Oh man. Sigh.

Today's sermon was really good. It was about Ecclesiastes--and very relevant to me right now. It actually really made me want to do a study on the book. I will share a few verses that especially stood out to me.

Ecclesiastes 3:12,13: "I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil--this is God's gift to man"
-Brian talked about how the "drudgery things" of life are gifts from God. As we trust Him and walk in faith, we take pleasure in all He calls us to do on earth.

Ecclesiastes 3:11: "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end."
-I can't see what is in God's mind and plan...but I can trust Him because He is good and He makes each experience of my life beautiful in its own time.

I've been reading the Great Divorce (by Lewis). It is such a brilliantly written book. It has been a conviction to me--about how I view eternity. Here's a quote I like and have been thinking about quite a lot:

"...yes cannot in your present state understand eternity: when Anodos looked through the door of the Timeless he brought no message back. But ye can get some likeness of it if ye say that both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective. Not only this valley but all their earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved. Not only the twilight in that town, but all their life on Earth too, will then be seen by the damned to have been Hell. That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, 'No future bliss can make up for it,' not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory....the Blessed will say 'We never lived anywhere except in heaven,' and the Lost, "We were always in Hell.'"

So...the thoughts that I have after hearing and reading all of these things: do everything to the glory of God. Live in, love, and enjoy the little bits of Heaven on earth--Christ in the world. Enjoy Him. Enjoy Him in everything. It's a gift. He makes everything beautiful in its own time.

Sometimes I make life so hard for myself, instead of focusing on loving and enjoying my Savior and all the gifts He gives. Please, Lord, may I be less distracted! Less "easily pleased."

I have been reading bits and pieces of Valley of Vision (a wonderful collection of puritan prayers). The first prayer ("Valley of Vision") is so beautiful. I would like to share it with you:

"Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly, Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision, where I live in the depths but see Thee in the heights; hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold Thy glory. Let me learn by paradox that the way down is the way up, that to be low is to be high, that the broken heart is the healed heart, that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit, that the repenting soul is the victorious soul, that to have nothing is to possess all, that to bear the cross is to wear the crown, that to give is to receive, that the valley is the place of vision. Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from deepest wells, and the deeper the wells the brighter Thy stars shine; let me find Thy light in my darkness, Thy life in my death, Thy joy in my sorrow, Thy grace in my sin, Thy riches in my poverty, Thy glory in my valley."

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