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Ecclesiastes: Searching for Happiness

A Ray of Hope

It’s at this point in Ecclesiastes that we get our first sign of hope.

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil. This also, I saw, is from the hand of God, for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment? (2:24-25)

Maybe in the middle of all these experiments we’ve been missing what’s right in front of us. Maybe the good things in life — food and drink and enjoyment of our work — aren’t meant to ultimately satisfy us, but are actually gifts from God that point to something greater. They’re not ultimate, but they’re still good.

C.S. Lewis said:

The books or the music in which we thought the beauty was located will betray us if we trust to them; it was not in them, it only came through them … If they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers. For they are not the thing itself; they are only the scent of a flower we have not found, the echo of a tune we have not heard, news from a country we have never yet visited.

Another time he said, “Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy but to arouse it to suggest the real thing.”

All the good things God gives us are meant for our enjoyment. They won’t ultimately satisfy us, but they’re all pointers to his goodness. He’s saying we can taste God’s goodness even in the middle of this difficult life.