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September 9, 1996

Live in Joy without Apology

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Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Enjoy life with your wife, whom you love, all the days of this meaningless life that God has given you under the sun—all your meaningless days. For this is your lot in life and in your toilsome labor under the sun. ECCLESIASTES 9:7-9
If life is full of mysteries that can’t be solved, and if our rational mind-set is simply to trust that God understands what’s going on and that He has a solution to what seems like a gross inequity, then how should we act?
We now know that we’re not supposed to allow those conundrums to prevent us from moving forward in life and in a relationship with God. But in the face of those realities, what should our perspective on life be? The answer to that question is crystal-clear: Don’t let the lack of an obvious answer to those mysteries prevent you from genuinely enjoying the best of life.
The things we can’t possibly solve are better left to God. He will figure them out in His time and in His way. Our job is to eat the food and drink the wine He provides. It is to keep a joyful heart and enjoy the love of a spouse. In a way that allows very little wiggle room, Solomon tells us to have fun, eat well, and revel in a great marriage relationship. He even suggests that we wear clothes that show a freshness to life.
But how does this all fit together? How can we look at the darkness around us and yet respond to life with such abandoned enthusiasm? We know Solomon well enough to understand that he’s not suggesting that we simply ignore the darkness in order to revel in the light. His purpose is not to make us forget that bad things go on, but to acknowledge that after we have done everything we can in our power to make things right, the rest is up to God. He wants to remind us that the darkness caused by others must not take away the joy that God wants us to experience.
Are you experiencing joy despite the difficulties and inequities that you see and experience at work?

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