17So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind. 18I hated all my toil in which I toil under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to the man who will come after me, 19and who knows whether he will be wise or a fool? Yet he will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity . . . 24There 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, 25for apart from him who can eat or who can have enjoyment?
—ecclesiastes 2:17-19, 24-25
God has made you in such a way that you have a longing for fulfillment common to every person in your family tree past or future (see Ecclesiastes 3:11). The most basic thing that we’re all “endowed with by our Creator” is “eternity in their hearts.” Every discussion of the nature of man or meaning or ministry must begin with this reality. Humans are unique among the living in that there is at the core of all of us a hunger for something that the experiences of this planet cannot satisfy.
If ever there was a human being who strolled down every avenue of potential satisfaction without finding it, that man was Solomon. From alcohol to sex with a different woman every day, Solomon explored all conceivable iterations of lifestyles of the rich and famous. From musical creativity to maximum opulence to palaces and rolling estates that run to the horizon, he had the means to do it all—and he did.
Yet his tears of frustration are easily heard in his words. He had it all but he said: "So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity. . ."(Ecclesiastes 2:17).Vanity means emptiness. He confessed: “I experienced everything that's possible, and it was worthless to me. Vanity and striving after the wind.”
Solomon discovered what so many fail to conclude: history is a repetitive loop of personal and societal futility. Everything is ultimately empty, and human experience is much more common than diverse, more universal than unique. We are all the same. And Solomon rightly concludes that fulfillment must come from a source outside of ourselves: "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"(Ecclesiastes 2:24).
God made things this way. It's in your DNA. God himself made you in such a way that you can never find satisfaction in anything in this world. His point is so clear and compelling. Any discussion of meaning in life must be based on the understanding that God designed us and He included in our make-up a longing for Him.
· What are some of the ways that I know I experience a deep longing for God?
· In what ways have I struggled with the temptation to meet my desire for God with lesser things of this world?
Thank You Father, for giving me the desire for You long before I realized that I was desiring You! Thank You for keeping me even when I was missing, avoiding, and ignorant of Your love and grace. And thank You for filling that void in my life with the only thing that could meet my deepest need—Yourself. In Jesus’ name, who made this possible, Amen!