Go Without


I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live;
also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil–this is God’s gift to man.”
-Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, ESV

There is nothing I love quite like a road trip.  I put on my favorite music and just…go.  I do a lot of my driving at night and I see some amazing wildlife.  I remember, once, while I was in college at Appalachian State, I took a midnight drive on the parkway and within the same mile I saw two raccoons, a deer, and a coyote.  There is nothing I love quite like wildlife.  Both of these things, wildlife and road trips, bring me joy.

They point me back to my creator.  I can’t see a beautiful mountain scene stretch before me on the highway without thinking of the God who reigns above them.  I can’t help but drift to the loving and creative maker as I sit motionless on the Blue Ridge Parkway at one am while a curious coyote moves his circle closer and closer to my car.  These things point me back to God and being pointed back to God…brings me joy.

In my study of Ecclesiastes this morning I ran across a footnote in the ESV Study Bible.  Here is my interpretation of what it says: don’t focus on what God has kept from us…but what He has given us.

If we focus on what we haven’t received, life can become overbearing.  We haven’t received the diagnosis we wanted, the remission we wanted, the marital counseling we wanted, the rehab we wanted, the justice we wanted.  We have missed out on a lot of things we want and that we think we have to have to live joyful lives.

*P.S.  Know today, that God wants those things for us too.  Our life in this fallen world keeps those things from us.  God is not, as Bruce put it, “a mean kid on an anthill with a magnifying glass”.  Do I understand much past that?  Nope.  But God is good and therefore cannot be bad.  The things mentioned above are bad.  God is against these things.

What if we didn’t focus on the things we have missed out on?  What if we focused, instead, on what we have.  Namely: Jesus.  We have a man, a friend, who loves us unconditionally and eternally.  Period.  That is all.  It is a truth and it is amazing.  The next question gets real and uncomfortable.

Can I accept that?

When I get the diagnosis, can I have Jesus?
When the protestors gather, can I have Jesus?
When the other person gets elected, can I have Jesus?
When I can hear Satan laughing at our world, can I have Jesus?

Because the truth is, I always have Jesus.  But when all I have is Jesus…how will I respond?

“…there is nothing better for them than to be joyful…”

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