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 (57)

57 thoughts on "The Mystery of Injustice and Death"

  1. Sarah D. says:

    Thank you for your prayers yesterday. My sister and I had a long conversation about a lot of different things, but the main thing I gathered is that she wants to me consider a lot of different issues like abortion, immigration, climate change, gun control, etc and hear my stance on those things. She wants us to be able to be open about those things with each other instead of only talking about superficial things. But I think my family and I have avoided it because we don’t want to get in an argument with them because we don’t agree with a lot of things they agree with . Plus on some things I’m still not form on because I haven’t researched it a lot, like climate change (and honestly I don’t like politics!) Phew. So my sister and I are going to be having talks on different topics with each other and next week we’ll be talking about faith and how hers has evolved and what she and I believe. From what she said yesterday, it sounded like she and her husband think the Bible is outdated and that you can pick and choose what to believe in it. If any of you have any advice on how to respond to this I’d definitely appreciate it! Please pray for wisdom, peace, that I wouldn’t be scared to talk with her, and that God would speak through me and he would do a heart transplant in them . Love you all! We will be talking next Wednesday most likely.

    1. Allison Bentley says:

      The Holy Spirit will give you the words !! Trust in Him to guide your heart so that you can reach hers!!!

    2. Lindsay Graham says:

      Listen to understand her, not to necessarily prove anything else to her. Ask her questions. Don’t be afraid if she makes a point that makes sense but shakes your foundation a bit. God is big enough to handle all of that. And none of us have it right, truly. We all believe that our beliefs are true, but God is a mystery to even the most faithful among us. That’s why we continue to seek Him. But he doesn’t require our defense. He requires us to love others. Seek that.

    3. Ashley P. says:

      Just read your comment, and I’m praying!

  2. Jenna says:

    As I read Solomon’s observations of life under the sun from Ecclesiastes 3, I couldn’t help but feel sad. Life apart from God is so hopeless. I grew up in the church so eternity and the coming of God’s kingdom have always been a part of my understanding of the world. Today’s reading made me think about life without that understanding. Christ is the anchor for my soul and I don’t know how I would make it without him. It reminds me of Peter’s words in John 6:68, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

  3. CeeGee says:

    Welcome, Janell!

  4. CeeGee says:

    AMEN Angie!

  5. Janell says:

    I am new here also I found peace in the words of the Bible this morning and also in the comments left by other. Thank you for bringing joy and peace to my life this am.

  6. Terri says:

    Churchmouse. Thank you so much for your words. It shows how the wisest man can become confused/ deceived. Keep God and His Word and The Holy Spirit in your hearts!

  7. Diana Fleenor says:

    Today I’m continuing to ponder in my heart that “in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness.” There is so much injustice in this fallen world. And I’m glad that I can say in my heart, “God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.”

    In my circle of friends and acquaintances, there is much talk about conspiracy theories regarding Covid-19. Can some of it be true? Possibly, we live in a fallen wicked world. But, it’s also possible that much of the “facts” that are given by some are actually falsehoods, and accusations of conspiracy are actually slanderous.

    My prayers continue to be for the Lord to be the one to expose the truth. I pray to be “the Lord’s servant who is not quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting [my] opponents with gentleness.” I pray you our God “may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:22-26)

    I don’t know how your circles are handling the “conspiracy theories”, but if they are in any way like mine, I pray for this grace of the Lord to keep yours and my hearts pure and our tongues speaking truth in love!

  8. DOROTHY says:

    I awoke to a thunderstorm, a dog afraid of thunderstorms and memories of a son’s death after a thunderstorm. Then after reading “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).” that Jessica and some of the different scripture, I need not have anything to be down and out about. I have everything to look forward to I will meet my loved ones in Heaven and my joy in the Lord is what will get me through. I need to “Let God and let go.” Have a blessed Friday and weekend my sisters in Christ.

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