Day 5

The Mystery of Injustice and Death

from the Ecclesiastes reading plan

Ecclesiastes 3:16-22, Genesis 3:19, Psalm 104:28-30, Psalm 119:25-26, 1 Corinthians 15:35-58

BY Jessica Lamb

I was recently given a robot vacuum. I’ve wanted one for several years, and the first night we turned it on, my husband and I watched it whir around our living room in awe. Then it stopped abruptly, full of dust, dirt, and who knows what else. We emptied it and ran it again. Then again. We ran it twelve times before it finally seemed satiated. But then when we ran it the next night, it had to be emptied multiple times yet again.

I initially felt defeated. Foolishly, I’d imagined that this gift would mean the permanent end of my dirty floors, instead of understanding it to be a helpful tool in the inevitable. My life is one of perpetually dirty floors, of glitter shed from preschool art projects and baby food flung surprisingly far from the dining room table. There will always be dust for the Roomba at the end of each day. While I can’t stop cleaning, I’m happier when I focus my energy on the joys of the mess-makers instead of pretending like their mess can be fully avoided.

At first glance, the hopelessness of today’s passage seems almost aggressive. Like Adam after the fall (Genesis 3), we read that “all are going to the same place” (meaning we will all die), but then the author of Ecclesiastes seemingly pivots and tells us to “enjoy [our] activities’ (Ecclesiastes 3:20–22).

He tells us to enjoy this life because we know death is a part of our post-fall reality, not just in spite of it. We can’t outrun death any easier than I can outsweep dirt in my home. But if we remember to number our days, we gain wisdom (Psalm 90:12). Against the backdrop of eternity, of knowing that our time here is limited, we can rightly hold all the good and bad of this life in proper perspective.

We can enjoy the blessings in our lives without expecting them to fill us in a way they were never meant to. We can grieve, mourn, and endure pain, because we know those, too, have an expiration date. We can learn to invest our hopes in and entrust our sorrows to an eternal God who satisfies eternally.

And on this side of the cross, we know God does not leave us in dust. Death is not our permanent end. As believers, we will also bear the image of Jesus, the man of heaven (1Corinthians 15:49), whose defeat over the grave is the first taste of a future harvest when all believers will be resurrected (v.20). We know that after death we will find ourselves in the presence of the Lord, where there is abundant joy (2Corinthians 5:8) and resurrection victory over death (1Corinthians 15:57). The gospel transforms the meaning of life, and it transforms the meaning of death.

Post Comments (56)

56 thoughts on "The Mystery of Injustice and Death"

  1. Chris says:

    Churchmouse. Well put!!

  2. Maura says:

    So much in the scripture today. again Solomon’s everything is futile, but God who sees us, saves us, walks with us. Oh how 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 brings it all in perspective. Because of Jesus we who have borne the image of dust also bear the image of heaven. How awesome is this it makes my heart burst with joy. The transforming power of God’s grace of taking what is dead and giving His light and life. What joy we have in our Lord may we hold tight to the One who holds us and sing His praise, yea shout it from the mountain tops Jesus Healer, Savior, Prince of peace Reigns! God may my life proclaim you in my actions, my thoughts and your love pour out through this broken vessel to others this I pray in Jesus name.

  3. Lizzie says:

    1 Corinthians 15:56-58,”The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!
    58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
    “We can learn to invest our hopes in and entrust our sorrows to an eternal God who satisfies eternally.” -Jessica Lamb
    Psalm 145:16,17,21.
    “You open your hand
    and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
    The Lord is righteous in all his ways
    and faithful in all his acts.”
    Lord, please give me a heart that rests in the peace you have given me through Jesus. Thank you for being my satisfaction.
    Collosians 1:15-17

  4. Jane says:

    Psalm 103:14 As a father shows compassion to His children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him. For He knows my frame; He remembers that we are dust.

    As I was reading today’s scripture I remembered this “dust” verse.
    It gives me such comfort. My Father looks on my frame and knows me – my weakness, my frailty. But He sees with compassion and such love.
    Bless the LORD, O my soul!

    My youngest son is getting married tonight – 18 hours away. It is so hard to be apart. I homeschooled him, he did college online at home, but God in His crazy mysterious way brought him together with a beautiful Jesus girl from Texas. I am so full of joy & sorrow. It hit my son hard last night that we wouldn’t be there. But God sees, He knows, Hé is at work, writing His story through our “dusty” lives.

    1. Margaret Terry says:

      Congratulations Jane on gaining a daughter! It must have been so hard not to be there, even though you are looking on the bright side, I know it must have hurt your heart to miss it. So many good times ahead, and so good she Loves the Lord! Best wishes for an exciting future for your family! My niece got married the same way in TX just a few weeks ago. The only people there, in her back yard were mom and dad, bride and groom and pastor. Next year on their first anniversary they are planning a vow renewal with all the original plans and reception!

  5. Britney Spees says:

    New to your community and already loving it! So much beauty and promise in these verses. A wonderful reminder this morning. Thank you❤️

  6. Juanita says:

    What a wonderful and centering way to remind us all to enjoy the moments underneath the Sun because nothing lasts forever! Thank you.

  7. Taylor says:

    We can enjoy abundant life here on earth NOW because we have the resurrected Christ living in us and through us! We bear HIS image! While yes, we long for Heaven when everything will be made right, God is using the messes in our life for HIS glory! He uses our brokenness to bring others to Himself because it is far easier for those who do not know the righteousness of Christ to relate to our human nature, brokenness. That is our purpose on Earth: to live for the glory of God! When we are living out of our identity IN Christ people see Him through us! We each have unique qualities that God uses to reveal Himself to others. God LOVES that we are diverse, He made us that way!
    Amen to the phrase: “We can enjoy the blessings of our lives without expecting them to fill us in a way they were never meant to.” Only God truly satisfies us in this life. Happy Friday sisters!

    1. Janine Davis says:

      I love how you put everything in a heavenly perspective.

  8. Emily says:

    What you wrote today Jessica and what the scripture pointed us back to reminded me of this song from The Porter’s Gate. Your Labor is Not in Vain.

    When worries of this world, feelings of being overwhelmed creep in, I’m so thankful for truth in scripture that brings us back to our Father.

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