"So you think you've got wisdom? You think you've got your life in order, got it nailed down – you think you understand how the world works? If death and destruction come knocking on your door on a Tuesday morning completely out of the blue, if the doctor tells you that your own end is near or the phone rings with heartbreaking news, then at that moment you will realize the control you thought you had over life was just self-deception. Thinking you know enough to have control of your own life is just an illusion, but the tears on your pillow at night are real. When we try to get a fully satisfying handle on how things work, we discover that wisdom seems to live on the other side of the world. We chase it, but we just can't get the full measure of it."
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David Gibson, a pastor in Scotland, wrote an incredibly thought-provoking book, "Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End." I highly recommend it because it's surprisingly encouraging and freeing. How? How is a study guide that is a deep dive into one of the Bible's most depressing books so encouraging and freeing? Well, as finite human beings, we always strive for what we don't already have and we constantly think about how we can improve our lives and get more "stuff." Ecclesiastes teaches us just the opposite.
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The opening paragraph to this article is an extended quote from Gibson's book. He's talking about how in the end, we all end up dead. Between birth and death, we try to live our best life and make the most of it. Because we are fallen creatures, rebels against our Creator, we crave what our Creator has: control and wisdom. Because we are His workmanship and not the Creator Himself, we are not made to have what He has. Our Creator gifts us with knowledge, discernment, and fragments of wisdom, so we can think for ourselves and make good decisions.
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But we have to remember that the wisdom we have is not all-encompassing – it's just a small piece. That's why Gibson says "…part of living wisely is learning to live with the limitations of wisdom itself." Once we accept that we'll never have it all, do it all, or be it all, we're free. You and I are going to die someday. It's all going to come to an end for the billionaires, for the homeless people, and everyone in between. Why strive for something that will just end? Seems pointless, right?
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Our Creator wants us to enjoy life. That's why He's given us such sweet gifts like friendship, family vacations, and donuts. However, He didn't create us to be His equal, He created us to need Him and rely on Him. That's why we don't have control and that's why we cry out to Him for strength to persevere and to show us the way – because He already knows. So, don't worry about not knowing what tomorrow will bring. Instead, thank Him for what He has given you, and trust Him always. He is the creator of wisdom, the creator of you and me, and has full control. We need not fret.
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