God's Wisdom in the Natural Rhythms of Life.

God has a personal plan for each person within His larger plan. Sometimes this truth is hard to believe when we go through confusing or difficult circumstances. Just as there is a purpose for each piece within a large model of a plane or ship, there is purpose in every aspect of your life.

"Sometimes we don't see the significance of a timepiece of a story until later on. Often there seems to be a brick missing, and it's hard to keep going without it; or there's tremendous joy and satisfaction as a particular piece clicks into place and crowns a part of our life project. The difference between life and a model project is we are not the ones with an instruction blueprint laid out for us; God is."

God's Providence in the Natural Rhythms of Our Life

Ecclesiastes 3:1 is tied to verse 11. God makes our appointments. He is involved in all the details of our lives. Ecclesiastes 3:2-8 contains 7 statements that cover all of our lives. We all go through the same things to differing degrees. One author said, "Solomon begins here to put together the big picture of life and the individual smaller parts of life to explain why our lack of control over either is the very thing that should give us hope."

We are enclosed in time, but God is not (2 Peter 3:8). Everything He does, lasts (Eccl 3:14). Life has rhythm like nature does (see chapter 1). We experience good and bad and in-between. God has a purpose for each of these details as the Master Planner. His Providence means his ability to see ahead. God lives in a constant present and sees all. He observes our faithfulness within our daily routine and how we handle the unexpected.

The Perspective of God's Wisdom

We are fallen people, and we live in a fallen world. Things happen that are out of our control. Ecclesiastes 3:9 echoes the feeling of futility in 2:18-23.

Gibson notes that many of the pairings in this section display how God designed us to be relational. We were made to be in relationship with other human beings; we cannot go it alone. People can hurt us because we live in a fallen world, but we cannot stop living for that reason. In the New Testament, the Thessalonians were chastised for abandoning normal life and just waiting for Jesus to return. We are called to occupy as we look for His coming.

Parents have a bigger perspective that children simply need to trust for their own good. Believers must do the same with God (1 Peter 4:19). We have many questions that we'd like to ask Him, but we realize that His ways are not ours (Isaiah 55:8). We are all short stories within His larger story.

Plain Truth of Applying God's Wisdom

Verse 11 indicates that God set in our hearts the desire to know why things work out as they do in our lives. Yet we are not capable of understanding the reasons for everything. As one author said, "We only have limited access to the big picture. We have to let God be big, and we have to become very small." We must humble ourselves in light of God's omniscience and power (1 Peter 5:6), recognizing that some things are uncontrollable (Eccl 3:12-14). Still we can trust God to work all things together (Romans 8:28).

Application Points

  • We all experience good and bad in life, and all are tempted to doubt God's providential plan. At those times, we must ground our heart and mind in God's Word so we may continue to move forward.
  • By grace, trust that God's master plan is beautiful. Be satisfied by playing your piece faithfully, and let Him work out all the details as He wills.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, Philippians 1:6 – God has a personal plan for each person within His larger plan.
A Hymn to Encourage: "Thy Way, Not Mine"

Thy way, not mine, O Lord,
However dark it be;
Lead me by Thine own hand,
Choose out the Path for me.
Smooth let it be, or rough,
It will be still the best;
Winding or straight it leads
Right onward to Thy rest.

I dare not choose my lot;
I would not if I might:
Choose Thou for me, my God,
So shall I walk aright.
Take Thou my cup, and it
With joy or sorrow fill,
As best to Thee may seem;
Choose Thou my good and ill.

Choose Thou for me my friends,
My sickness or my health.
Choose Thou my cares for me,
My poverty or wealth.
Not mine, not mine the choice,
In things both great and small;
Be Thou my guide, my strength,
My wisdom and my all.