Daily Update #280
13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
This is a difficult week in which to write anything. We have all been challenged and thrown about. And I do not know how to answer all the questions I have and you have right now. About what has happened to Pete and Sue. Or about God’s providence and will. Or about how he rules and yet chaos and pain happen. It is the pressure of life right now and we are all feeling it.
Some people confronted Jesus with a similar question. How can bad things happen like this? Jesus asked what they thought about people who died when a tower collapsed upon them, Luke 13:4-5. We all have questions like this but Jesus pointed them towards God as we should turn today.
In this reading which summarises the wisdom the Preacher has shared. He has examined life, from all its angles. All its possibilities for joy and beauty and effort and expression were brought under the sun, under the microscope, and the Preacher concludes and points us to the same one thing.
We all live under the rule of God. We have no choice. It is part of the human condition. But we read that God is worth fearing, taking seriously, being mindful of what he says. This can sound hard, ringing harshly in our ears. Particularly with some of the hard won freedoms and choices in our society we enjoy. But why would God command anything unless it were good for us? Is he capricious, temperamental, partial, uninterested?
Certainly not. As we dig in we read that he has a keen understanding, even of the secret things in our hearts, he know our feelings, how we respond to situation, Whether with faith or fear, he knows and loves us no less. He understands good and knows what is evil. He understands the things that happen to us. He knows when we suffer evil and when we suffer evil. He will judge things, whether good or evil. There is relief in that. As long as we acknowledge God’s rule, we can live with confidence that God knows what life does to us.
Lord God, whose Son, Jesus Christ,
understood people’s fear and pain
before they spoke of them,
we pray for those in hospital;
surround the frightened with your tenderness;
give strength to those in pain;
hold the weak in your arms of love,
and give hope and patience
to those who are recovering;
we ask this through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.