So if a person lives many years, let him rejoice in them all; but let him remember that the days of darkness will be many.-Ecclesiastes 11:8
According to the dictionary definition, to rejoice means "to show or feel great joy or delight." Sometimes, though, I think society promotes misguided causes for rejoicing. In the video below, listen to what the people say brings them joy--relationships, work, the beach, a magazine. Can a person still rejoice when all of those things are taken away, as they were for Job? Is true joy still possible?
Ecclesiastes 11:8 initially seems to uphold the modern mindset. If we live many years, we are to rejoice in all of them. We are to feel great delight throughout our lives. Most of us, I suspect, understand the wish to always experience great delight. We want life to be a never ending river of happiness, delights, and temporal pleasures. Even many churches sell this message--if you just pray hard enough, or give enough money, God will bless you materially.
Yet the next phrase seems to grind against the first. We rejoice in all of our years, but there will be many dark days? How are we to reconcile those two seemingly disparate ideas? Cancer comes. Jobs are lost. Loved ones die. Dark days. Yet we are to rejoice in them?
How can we find rejoice in days of darkness? We rejoice not because of the fleeting trinkets the world offers, but we rejoice because our hope is in the God of our salvation.
Even in the days of darkness.
Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places.
To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments.
-Habakkuk 3:17-19 ESV
Daily Reading: Matthew 13, Numbers 16, Hebrews 13, 1 John 5, Ecclesiastes 11, Psalm 138, Proverbs 19, 1 Chronicles 20, Ezekiel 46, Romans 14