People say nothing in life ends up as they wished. It doesn’t sound very optimistic. But, unfortunately, it is valid for worldly life. One of the themes of the book of Ecclesiastes tells the truth. People plan their ways, but the outcomes are unpredictable under the sun. So wishing, hoping, and planning too seriously under the sun is vanity and striving after the wind. Thus, Ecclesiastes 2:24 advises, “There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.” Proverbs 16:25 affirms that the idea is a truth by saying, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” So then, what should we do for a successful life under the sun? What have we to do with our wishes, hopes, and plans for life under the sun?
Above all, we have to have the right perspective on life. We should position life in the right segment. Human existence is in a limited segment. We are under the sun, which means we are temporary and transitional beings. We are a creature; we are not the creator. Some bold people proudly say that they create ways for their lives. However, what they are blind to is that their idea returns to the truth of vanity. So many significant things in our life are out of our grasp, such as the future and invisible realities. Humans can have a glimpse of those but only a partial picture. One other thing we have to acknowledge is that we can’t exist alone. Even the whole of humanity, even if they stand in perfect unity, can’t, either. We can’t be here without the Creator of the universe, who created the ground for our existence among all other things we need. Therefore, we must see ourselves in relationship with so many, maybe an infinite number of, other things.
The perspective is to see ourselves in a relationship with God, the Creator, Fashioner, and Judge. Life is not in our hands but in His hands. We don’t know the outcome of our life, no matter how smart we may be, because we don’t know the Creator’s plan for us in every detail. The only thing we know and should not forget is that our life is in His hands, and our life depends on Him for everything. The outcomes of our wishes, hopes, and plans also rely on Him. That is why we don’t know what the results will be. This one truth gives us a sufficient reason to have the right perspective on our life in the relationship with Him.
We believe in Him, trust Him, and set out hope in Him. First of all, the perspective is faith. We acknowledge not only that He is our God but also that our life is in His hands. So we believe that whatever the outcome of our life under the sun may look like, our true eternal life will be with Him forever, as far as we please Him as His dependents. Second, we trust in Him. We do our best and leave the outcome to Him. We entrust the results of our works to Him, believing that the outcome, however disappointing it might be to our eyes, is the best gift of His for us. Finally, we hope in Him. We don’t lose our hearts at any previous outcomes. They might look punishing to our eyes, but we believe that was the best gift for us from Him. Thus, we don’t lose heart but rejoice and march forward from the ashes and ruins. We believe God lets the ashes and ruins nourish our life for the best. Our hope in Him never lets us lose the spirit of trust.
The perspective gives us joy and happiness. Not only that, life in the perspective guarantees spiritual and long-term, generational blessings. Our family is happy no matter how poor we may become because we live for the gospel. So also are we, no matter how wealthy we may become because we use the blessings for the gospel too. Our children are learning, being trained, and growing in the Holy Spirit, who works through faith. They are holy and different from the world. They are not weak and gloomy; they may look fragile and poor, but they are in the hands of the most powerful One, the Creator of the universe. No one and nothing can beat them down, as they always put God in front of them. Their lives are prosperous, not because they work more than others, but because God is with them. In other words, as they please God the Almighty, only one move of God’s fingertip gives more than human labor of hundreds of years. Therefore, their life is full of joy, thankfulness, and prayers.
It is valid under the sun that no one’s life ends up as he wishes. However, our true being is not under the sun, and that human wisdom doesn’t apply to us exactly. We are not those humans who have their life only under the sun. For us who keep the true life going above the sun, that is, in God, by God, and for God, whatever we wish, hope, and plan comes true (John 14:13-14, 15:16, 16:23-24; Matthew 7:7-11; Ephesians 3:20). Therefore, the best way of life under the sun is to live above the sun by faith in God. This is what the wisdom literature teaches as well as Jesus.
Proverbs 3:1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. 3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Be not wise in your own; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the first fruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. 2 There were born to him seven sons and three daughters. 3 He possessed 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, and 500 female donkeys, and very many servants, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the east.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.