Last time we saw Solomon apply God’s wisdom to our work. We learned to work smarter, not just harder, to plan your work and work your plan, to know when to work and when to play. But maybe you came to the end of chapter10 and said, “I did all that. I worked smarter, not just harder. I planned my work and worked my plan. But it still fell apart. I tried to work smart. But I still lost my house, or I lost my business or I lost my marriage. Our best laid plans don’t always turn out.
Maybe you’ve had what seemed like a really good plan that failed. A vacation that didn’t live up to its billing. Or worse yet a honeymoon that went bad. Maybe it was a work project that failed. Or your plan for retirement that keeps getting postponed. Our best laid plans sometimes amount to nothing. The thing we thought through, planned out, even prayed about, can fail. Especially in an economy like this. I can hardly think of a time when Ecclesiastes 11 is more applicable.
I look at friends of mine who got out of college brimming with confidence and talent, expecting to succeed in whatever field we were going into. Then they hit the brick wall of a plummeting economy. And all of a sudden they’re in a corporation that’s failing. They’re in a church that’s struggling. They’re losing their jobs due to downsizing.
And you sit there and think “This wasn’t part of my plan.” A lot of Americans, a lot of people around the globe are feeling that way right now. Our best laid plans just got blown away. Maybe it was a relationship that evaporated, a job that disintegrated, a hope that faded. And how do we react to this? Usually we get upset. We get frustrated. We ask God “Why?”
But how should we respond? In Eccles. 11, Solomon shares with us the wisdom of God. He doesn’t deny that life is uncertain. Over and over in Eccles., Solomon has recognized that this is the case. Life is uncertain. Why? Because we’re not in charge. God is. God in His providence moves in mysterious ways. In a world cursed by sin, He allows things that we really can’t understand. Yet we can’t let the uncertainty of life paralyze us.