Ecclesiastes 3:1-14

I don’t really need to tell you, but life is not always easy. Life can be a real struggle, and for many, life can be a time of great sadness too. However, having said that, life can also be a time of great joy too. Indeed, there can be the fun, excitement, and the thrills that make life worth living. Because, even in the saddest of events, there can be joy, celebration and laughter.

Of course, what this means is, that we may have to face sad times as well as glad times. But the secret of life is to get the balance right, we need to aim for the middle. And because of that this poem is very important. Because in this poem, if nothing else, is the idea of balance.

Now the writer of the poem was King Solomon. At this particular stage in his life he had moved from his glory years—with his wisdom and fame—and he was now approaching the end of his life. Furthermore, he had experienced a long period of depression. He had seen many glorious things in life, and he had been blessed by God with so many things, but at this point he could only look at the world through sad eyes. He felt the sadness and the pain. And yet despite that he knew that side by side with the sadness, the joy of life was waiting there too.

And this is particularly so, if we take into account the point of Solomon’s poem. Because having delivered his poem of extremes, Solomon didn’t stop there. But he continued on for another six verses—verses which are not part of the poem—and which are usually ignored. But, in those six verses, he introduces the reality of God—and he mentions God’s name six times. And this puts his poem into a whole new perspective. So much so, that King Solomon was able to conclude that despite the fact there were times to do this and times to do that, the import thing was to never forget about having times with God.

Getting life into balance, then, maybe the central focus of the poem. But in order get that balance right, Solomon suggests, we must have God at the centre—at the centre of our happy times and at the centre of our sad times. God needs to be there in our mourning and in our dance.

So, in times of great sadness as well as in times of great joy, a down and depressed King Solomon is a very appropriate person to listen to. Because despite his demeanour his words provide comfort and meaning.

If any of us are facing times that are a bit rough, then, we have something to remind us of the need for balance. We have a reminder that whatever the issues we are faced with, whatever our own personal dilemmas may be, the road from sadness to gladness is the one we should be on. Because yes, there is a time to mourn, but there is a time to dance too. And we need to get the balance right. And the only way we can do that, is to have God at the centre of our lives. Because as a very depressed Solomon knew, only God can make that balance truly possible.

Posted: 8th June 2018
© 2018, Brian A Curtis