For in much wisdom is much vexation, and those who increase knowledge increase sorrow. Ecclesiastes 1:18 NRSV
I read the first three chapters of Ecclesiastes to my eight-year-old the other day. All he has to say was: "I don't understand a word you read!"
Ecclesiastes is like that. We have a hard time understanding what it says yet we come away from it feeling fairly hopeless and not a little depressed.
The book itself tells us, in this verse, that trying to understand can make us just feel annoyed and at the same time makes us feel sad. This could be trying to understand life, God, other people or our own situation. Any kind of knowledge can end up being frustrating rather than rewarding. Knowledge may be power but it also makes us face the ugliness of reality. Understanding in itself will not make us happy.
I want to know why my mother gave me up for adoption. But do I really want to know? I think the reality may be very painful. It may sadden me. What will it gain for me to know? Ecclesiastes would call learning something like that simple vanity. In the end, such knowledge would be fruitless.
Is there something you want to know? Is there some issue or situation or even theological concept that you deep down have a desire to understand fully? I don't suppose any of us think that knowing will make us happy. Perhaps we think it will make us more content. I think it will simply make us want to know more!
God, there are so many questions we want answers to. We especially desire to know more from you. Yet, we understand that knowledge will not make us complete or happy. Only you can do that for us.
May we reach for you at all times. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Copyright 2010 Amelia G. Sims