Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
I set down God's Word and shook my fist a little at the author. Surely He knew I could use some peace and comfort, yet my studies landed me in the only book of the Bible that would be considered pessimistic literature. I had only read verse 1, and I was already feeling pessimistic!
Verse two proved to be more of the same. So did verse three, verse four, verse five, verse six...Verse after verse suggesting that there is no profit for our labor, no purpose in our suffering. The monotonous words rolled off the page like links of a chain meant to oppress me.
I was sitting on the cream-colored cushions of a wicker love seat tucked into the corner of a screen porch at my parent's lake cabin. The sun had not waken much earlier than I, but even at these first stages of her ascent, I could feel her heat beating down upon me through the screens. With one swoop I wiped away both a bead of sweat and a fallen tear. I felt silent. I had no poetic thoughts from my morning reading to record in my journal.
I began to physically slump both from the heat of a July morning under the sun and from the heaviness I felt welling up in my chest when my eyes caught a phrase that was tucked away at the end of several distressing verses.
"He toils under the sun" (v3)
"Nothing new under the sun" (v9)
"All the works that are done under the sun" (v14)
Under the sun.
Everything is vanity under the sun... labor without profit, oppression without justice, pleasure without satisfaction, suffering without comfort, trials without peace.
But I don't live under the sun.
But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ.
We live under the SON.
He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away. Then the One seated on the throne said, "Look! I am making everything new." He also said, "Write because these words are faithful and true." And He said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give water as a gift to the thirsty from the spring of life. The victor will inherit these things, and I will be his God, and He will be My son!
Revelation 21: 4-7