Everything is Meaningless…

What do Job and Ecclesiastes have in common? Not much…or so it seems. But really the more I ponder, the more I realize they both hit on the basic tenant of our existence. What is the meaning of life? Why are we here and what does God have to do with anything? Don’t worry–I’m not going to go all existential on you or anything. But these are questions that plagued the ancients and still daunt us today. Certainly a search for the answers to these questions is a worthy quest.

In Job we find a man railing against God because of the grief and pain that suddenly fill his life. He argues against the religious rhetoric of his day. He firmly asserts his innocence. And he demands that God give him an explanation. What is he alive for? Why is he even on the earth if all there is is suffering?

In Ecclesiastes, the Teacher, whom many assume is Solomon rails against the meaningless nature of even a productive life. He experiences wealth, opulence, and success. Yet he is asking the same questions. What is he alive for? What is the point of this existence, if all there is to do is eat and drink and revel?

What I find so interesting is that on either end of the spectrum the same question arises. Abject suffering and pain forces to the surface a desperate cry for meaning and plea for something greater than pain to hold on to. Likewise, prosperity, wealth, and success drive us to laments of boredom. We question, “Is this all there is?” searching desperately for something greater than success to hold onto.

Perhaps this search meaning in both prosperity and disaster can be explained by Ecc. 3:11 “…He has also set eternity in the hearts of man, yet they cannot fathom what He has done from beginning to end.” Our hearts beat for eternity. Yet, in our finite minds we cannot fathom His ways. So we were created for eternal purpose, yet live in this temporal world. We were created to find total satisfaction in God.  Yet we live, seeking satisfaction in all other sensory input and blame God when nothing fills the void.

The struggle in my life boils down to this…am I on a quest to find meaning in my life, or a quest to know God. When I seek for meaning, even from a spiritual perspective, I will come up with the same answer as the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless.” But when I seek God, meaning ceases to matter. Only He matters.


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