Smiles and Sadness, Solomon and a Savior

Life is complicated. Schedules conflicted, information mistaken, words misunderstood, our health or even our loved ones snatched from us: all of that is a formula for stress.

Our plans are upset every day, but our spirit need not be. But for us to remain unflustered in a hurried, worried world, we need more perspective than “Chicken Soup for the Soul” can provide. Our hearts need more than platitudes; they need power. Our minds need more than rhymed couplets; they need reasoned consistency. Our lives need more than happy experiences; we need to know there is a happy ending. We were certainly made with the capacity for fun, but our destiny is joy.

The Bible’s wisdom literature provides the needed perspective. The Proverbs teach us that there are different kinds of people so we can learn to deal with them wisely. The Psalms put words of praise in our mouths, suitable to every up or down of life. The Song of Solomon puts lovemaking in the proper context of love. And Ecclesiastes binds them all together, with a sort of wisdom wrapper.

Solomon tells us that there are cycles, or seasons, in life, and time for every one of God’s purposes to be fulfilled: a time to weep as well as laugh, a time to mourn as well as dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4). In fact, he says that all of it, love and death, pain and pleasure, work and fun, all of it is God’s gift: “There is nothing better for a person than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–-this is God’s gift to men.” Ecclesiastes 3:12, 13 ESV.

Now, One “greater than Solomon” has come, and has participated in our suffering, and suffered for us, so that pain and death do not have the last word. Jesus’ life corroborates all that Solomon taught us. While He was “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,” He also had great delight in doing His Father’s will. His promise of peace and command to “be of good cheer” are anchored in His having overcome this present, often sad, world.

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace.
In the world you will have tribulation.
But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
John 16:33

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