Ecclesiastes is one of the oddest books in the Bible. It’s written pseudonymously by a person called “the Teacher” but the end of the book has a conclusion from another writer.

The tone is one that seems to run contrary to every other book of wisdom in the Scriptures; it talks about how futile mortal struggles are, how pointless it is to try to control one’s own life. The book presents a few correct and Spiritually sound ideas, to be sure, but all of that comes from understanding how wrongheaded the rest of the book is. Everything, we know, is not meaningless.

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.

Ecclesiastes 7:14

The book is teaching, among other things, the importance of contentment. The way it is written presents anything but “it’s pointless so why even try” as foolishness but that framing is to highlight the Spiritual truth that we understand because of our relationship with God, that whether or not we can find a purpose in our lives, God has one in mind.

It’s true that you can’t pick a better day for yourself or change a season from unfavorable to favorable but what we can do is change our perspective from one of disappointment in the present to hope for the future. The key to that? Go from cynically doubting people to assuredly trusting God.

Ethan Kirl