Musings in Adversity III

On Monday morning when I was waiting for the doctor’s office to open to make an appointment before I suffered any permanent loss of vision, I spent time in prayer. As I was praying, I was drawn to Ecclesiastes, chapter 7.

As I started reading, verse 14 jumped off the page:

In the day of prosperity be happy, But in the day of adversity consider— God has made the one as well as the other So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.

Ecclesiastes 7:14

As I began to dig into this verse, the contrast became conspicuous.

Solomon explains how one should react to the good days, the days of prosperity: “be happy.” When I was younger, I thrived on deferred gratification, whether it be working when others were playing, or saving when others were spending, telling myself I would enjoy the good days in the future. Age and experience has since taught me to embrace those now rare days youth offered so liberally. However, this was not one of those days.

Instead, the word for me was in what followed in verse 14: “but in the days of adversity consider . . . .” Our response to prosperity should be an emotional one–be happy, embrace it, enjoy it–but our response to adversity should be an intellectual one: consider. Think. Realize. Understand.

We are to consider that God is sovereign in the day of prosperity and the day of adversity, but He has allowed both so we will not be able to predict the future (“so that man will not discover anything that will be after him.”).

We do not know whether tomorrow will be good or bad. If we saw all the adversity that awaits us in the future in a fallen world, we would probably be paralyzed by anxiety. We would never be able to enjoy the days of prosperity because of our knowledge of the future.

As it is, we do not know what tomorrow will bring, and that is a good thing. If it is a good day, be happy. If it is a day of adversity, consider that God is still sovereign, and in His grace he did not show it to us in advance and ruin the chance of us being happy in the day of prosperity. GS

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