Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Week Thirty-One - As the World Turns

I've never really been one to watch soap operas, but my mother did. One she followed was, As the World Turns. Today, we don't often call them soap operas; we say we are watching a series, but the idea is similar. There is a storyline running through each episode, drawing us to keep coming back for more.

I began thinking about this as I read Ecclesiastes. Similar to our leading characters, Solomon looked for things to satisfy his fleshly appetites. He wanted more from life, so he explored every pleasure. He tried to figure life out and found only dead-end roads. He was at the top of the mountain, so to speak, but even there, nothing satisfied.

As I look at my own life, I remember times when I have felt the same; like the world turns to no purpose. Everything is empty and vain and holds nothing for me. I'm just a pawn in the grander scheme.

Do you know what conclusion came to Solomon? Remember, he is the wisest man who ever lived. He was rich beyond our wildest imagination, and no pleasure, exploit, or desire was withheld from him. His conclusion? Enjoy what you have; it is your portion from the hand of God. Solomon came back to a humble, loving response to an all-knowing, all-powerful Creator.

I don't know about you, but when I allow my A-type personality to settle into this truth, I find great comfort. There is no need to prove myself, no need for great works or mighty words of earthly wisdom, just a gentle, contented, thankful heart for what God has lovingly placed around me. 

When I get back into my place, life takes on a healthier meaning. That old song, Count Your Blessings, begins ringing in my ears, and I start taking stock of my portion - a safe and cozy home, a loving family, good health, food on the table, the beauty of creation, the fellowship of His Spirit, the powerful working of the Word in my heart, and the good hand of God upon me. What more could I ask?

This old world continues turning. Solomon told us many years ago that the sun faithfully rises and sets, the wind and waters move to a never-changing cycle, and there is no new thing under the sun. All of these are beyond our control but under the control of God. "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it...why?...that men should fear before him" (Ecclesiastes 3:14).

I walked away more peacefully that day and remembered another scripture, 2 Corinthians 4:18, "For the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." 

This reminded me that with all its sadness, temptations, and pleasures, this old world will pass away, but my soul is eternal. I have eternal life, and I am happiest when I am thankful for my portion and live with expectant contentment while this old world spins to its end.

How about you? Do you feel caught in a never-ending soap opera? Like there is no end to troubles and no purpose to life? Why not stop and take stock of where you are, thankfully accept the portion God has given, and lift your focus beyond this world.

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