"For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief."
What's this, I thought the Bible was supposed to be encouraging? Why is God telling me the more wisdom and knowledge I have the worse life will be? I don't need more sorrow or grief in my life right now, after all I have two teenage girls in the house. If more sorrow and grief comes with more wisdom and knowledge - I'll stay ignorant.
Then I went to the bottom of the page for a clearer understanding of the verse and in a nut shell this is what God is telling me:
Only in God does life have meaning and true pleasure. Without him nothing satisfies, but with him we find satisfaction and enjoyment. True pleasure comes only when we acknowledge and revere God. One of the tools God gives us to acknowledge him and to communicate with him is through the Living Word. We need to spend time in the Word everyday. Sounds like a pretty simple task or is it?
I co-lead our Women's Group at church with a wonderful person, I will call her D. D has sharpened me and been such a blessing to me in so many ways that I couldn't even begin to count. I thank God for bringing her and her family to our church. She is such an inspiration. You can visit her blog here.
Ok, back to the story, right now we have challenged the women of the church to spend time in the "Word" everyday for 30 days. We put together suggested reading for those who like a little more structure and/or guidance, leading a short meeting after church to see how everyone is doing, and just plain encouraging them.
Five days into the challenge I get the following email from D:
...how's the Bible reading going?
Crap, how does she always know when I start acting like a wondering sheep that needs to be brought back to the herd. How 's the Bible reading going? What kind of a question is that? I'm one of the leaders and I'm supposed to be setting an example for the women. Now she went and asked how it was going.
How do I tell my close friend and co-leader that I've picked up the Bible twice during this challenge so far and we are on day 5?
So I responded with the following email:
I support the challenge 100% but yet the flesh wasn't as willing. I was so excited about the enthusiasm of the women in regards to the challenge,but after the meeting I went home did our Sunday thing and then went out of town to celebrate a family birthday and it ended there. I prayed about it that night but again - a brick wall. Pretty much the same story with Monday, I did listen to KGBI and they quoted some scripture, does that count? No, I imagine not. Why is this so hard?
Tuesday I started to listen to Matthew in the car, how refreshing. I still didn't have a pull to dig into the Gospels. For the past week or so I keep hearing little snippets from Ecclesiastes which is weird because it's not one of those books that usually comes to mind for me. It seems no matter where I turn - there it is. I even put it on my own blog several months ago. So Tuesday night I started reading from the book of Ecclesiastes. Last night I was playing around on my Ipod and found free pod casts that could be down loaded. I thought to myself, I wonder if they have any pod casts of the Bible? You'll never guess, the last six pod casts that were posted were Ecclesiastes chapters 1-6, individually. Ok God, I get it, I hear what you are saying, I'll start studying Ecclesiastes. So with all my technical wisdom - I gave my Ipod to kj and asked her to down load them for me.
I'm struggling with this book, it's not one I've studied before, but what God is showing me is that with out Him EVERYTHING is meaningless. I am so thankful God gave you this idea and I hope that the other women are having a "light bulb", or as in my case a "duh" moment as well.
There you have it-authenticity (or maybe just too honest).
This is part of the encouraging email I received back from D:
....Why is this so hard you ask? To that I answer...never underestimate the power of the enemy. He really doesn't have to work that hard, does he? But he sure is influential! Ecclesiastes is a great book! There are so many beautiful words and turns of phrases. The message there is amazing! Sometimes it literally takes my breath away! Stick with it. You'll be glad you did. One of the things that makes God so amazing is the fact that He gives us choices. He knows what's best for us, but He doesn't force us into anything In The Message version of the Bible it's called "the unforced rhythms of grace." It's up to you to choose to spend time in the Word or not. You won't be punished for not doing it, but you'll be blessed beyond your wildest imagination if you do.
Thank you D for being a friend.
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man that is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
So when life appears to be impossible or meaningless ask yourself, "Have I included God?"