I’ve been thinking a lot lately about life. And death. Pastor Tim’s Road Trip sermon about Noah, two Sundays ago, was very impacting to me and to many others. (If you haven’t heard it, you can find it here.)
We have experienced many deaths in our own congregation over the last weeks. I have family members and friends who are experiencing sickness, pain and loss in very deep ways. There are people in hospice and people waiting for surgery. Others have received news that felt like a gut punch. Sometimes, the storm comes and we are suddenly in the middle of the deluge and we think the rain will never stop.
Sometimes, we experience physical death. Sometimes, we experience the death of a dream or a relationship or a job…. There are so many different paths that life can take.
And sometimes, we work so hard to make it all work. Sometimes, we toil and spin and think we can bring about the “right” results… But in this week’s Pause Bible Reading Plan, we’re in the Book of Ecclesiastes, and this verse caught my attention.
“Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” — Ecclesiastes 2.11
I stopped and said, “Lord, what are my hands toiling to achieve? How am I spending my time? Is it meaningless? Am I just chasing after the wind?”
I’ve been reminded, once again, that this earthly life is temporary. And, while we have work to do—God’s work—it’s not my job to toil and worry and play God. There is one God, and I‘m not Him!
Gratefully, we get to partner with Him in prayer, in listening, in obedience. But, if I‘m just relying on my hands to “fix” things, then I’ll always fall short. But, if I’m looking to God, whether I’m in the middle of the storm or floating around in an ark in the dark or seeing daylight for the first time in months, then I’ll find peace. His peace.
In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that He has come that we might have life, and have it to the fullest.
But what is the definition of a full life? Many would have a variety of answers to that question. But true full life is life lived with Jesus. True full life is when we realize we’re not in control, but the God of the Universe holds my life and breath in His hands. Full life doesn’t come from me toiling and spinning and worrying. True full life doesn’t come from accumulating more wealth or possessions or status. It comes when I let go…when I stop trying so hard and I recognize who God created me to be and walk humbly in that knowledge. It comes when I wait on the Lord and praise Him IN every circumstance. Not FOR every circumstance, but regardless of what I am experiencing, knowing that He is God.
If you are in the middle of the storm, I encourage you to stop toiling and stop relying on the work of your hands. Recognize that it’s just chasing the wind and lean into Jesus and let Him direct your path, a path toward full life.
Pastor Deborah Clark