This week has been hard, and it is hard writing this; but I want to be truthful with you. I do this in the hopes I am not the only one struggling with this, not the only one feeling it’s pain, and not the only who will realize that hope lies within the struggle.
Over and over in Ecclesiastes, arguably the wisest man to have lived writes on an inescapable reality. Everything, our body, the riches we so fiercely seek, pleasure, or even doing/being good is all meaningless.
I have spent the last 7 years, after I had surgery on a herniated disc in my lower back, doing anything (yoga, proper weight training, cardio, etc. etc.) I could to build my body back to not let it happen again. Yet every day I still wake up with a stiff back, and a lingering pain, constantly reminding me of the crippling effect the herniated disc had.
My wife and I continually research, learn, and apply new nutrition ideals to our daily life with gardening, cooking, supplements, etc. Yet every morning I look in the mirror I still see a body that doesn’t reflect the effort (and never will as I desire a body type not my own), and every time I treat myself to even a single doughnut, I erase the entire last month of clean eating.
We try to be responsible with our money, hoping to see it grow, and live within our means. We set up a budget and stick to it, we save, we plan, we invest, and yet it never seems like we have enough; nor according to our planning and professions, will we have enough in the future.
And then our culture chimes in…get more, be more, workout more, have a better body, treat yourself, have a bigger house, be famous….
All the while Vanity whispers when I am still and quiet enough to hear…it is a chasing after the wind, meaningless, meaningless, it is all meaningless.
Riches cannot be taken with you
Every body eventually fails
Every pleasure eventually fades
Good people suffer while the wicked flourish
If you are not here to enjoy it, what is the point of even a remembered name?
This is where the struggle comes in, this is where the pain is felt, this is where I feel despair creep in, and where I finally ask, “Then what is the point?”
Ironically it is through vanity that I hear the answer.
You see, vanity gives us a gift.
It is when we see vanity’s end, death, we start to seek that which isn’t in vain, seek that which actually fulfills, seek what can last beyond vanity’s end result of death. So then, what is it that vanity pushes us towards?
Something eternal, something that has defeated death itself, that still lives, that gives you purpose and brings your tiresome work fulfillment
Christ who says for those who seek they will find, those who find will no longer live in vain, all the work that was once in vain now finds purpose and fulfillment, and granting me the freedom to accept grace.
This is what the wisest man found, and this is what I am just beginning to see.
His grace comes to bring us life and bring it abundantly!
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” -Matthew 6:33