07/22/15 – 209
Ecclesiastes 1:16-18 I said to myself, “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” 17 Then I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind.
18 For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’? I think that’s what Solomon was thinking about when he wrote this. In many ways, I can feel his pain. Here’s an example. As a paramedic and emergency nurse, I was always the most medically knowledgeable in my family. So, when something bad happened (like my sister being killed in a car accident) I ended up being the ‘go-to’ person for explanations and answers that people had. It felt like my own grief had to be set aside to help others understand, when all I wanted was for them to comfort me!
Over the years in public service I also learned (to some extent) how things work in back-room politics, and the news media. Let’s just say that a lot of heroes came crashing down from their pedestals over that time. But that’s where Solomon and I disagree. For me, the sorrow that came with growing knowledge and wisdom was in seeing people with all their human imperfections – ‘bumps and all’. And yes, that could be a crippling despair if that was all you saw in the people you loved, let alone everyone else.
But for me, there is joy as well, because the same light that reveals those blemishes reveals the hope that is inherent in all of us that were created in His image (for the record, that’s all of us). For every bruise, there is a healing offered. For every scar, there can be restoration. Now why didn’t Solomon see that?
I believe it was simply because when he began to worship other gods, marry women who worshipped other gods and allow them to bring their idols into his home, when he began to use his gift for selfish gain rather than for the purposes for which it was given him, he effectively turned his gaze away from the light of God and looked instead into the shadows. Where there was hope, he saw only darkness. Where there was good, it was eclipsed by the bad. What’s more, he did it on such a grand scale that I’m sure it seemed that there was no way out.
Let’s pray today for that wisdom, but that it always, always is illuminated in His light. May we never lose the hope we have in Him.