By The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Baines
Are we getting the message yet? The ‘Teacher’ of Ecclesiastes keeps driving home the point: that wisdom is rooted in a right perspective on God, the world, time and our priorities. Why are we so shortsighted? Why do we measure our value(s) in terms of the ‘now’ and not as seen through the eyes of the eternal God? Wisdom, we read, knows how to enjoy life, but doesn’t expect life to be always enjoyable.
Life is often rough, so we shouldn’t simply look for God in the resolution of our problems; God is the God of the whole of life. The world is full of injustice; but, God still opted right into this world – and did not exempt himself from it – in Jesus. Paul calls this perspective ‘the knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ himself…’ If Christ went to a cross, why should you be spared? A Christian is plunged into the contradictory realities of life and all the world can throw at us – this is part of what it means to ‘be in Christ’. Yet, our root conviction is the knowledge that God raised Christ from death and, so, life’s sufferings (which Paul endured in spades) are not the final word.
An English bishop once summarised his ‘creed’ as follows: ‘God is. God is as he is in Jesus. So, there is hope.’ That’s not a bad summary. It reflects the Psalmist’s recognition of ‘the steadfast love of God’… despite his very human rage against those who perpetrate injustice. God is – and that’s enough.
Does the resurrection set you free to trust in the God who has been here and has the final word in this world?
Lord God, grant us the wisdom to see ourselves through your eyes, to live our lives wisely, and to put our trust in you at all times. Amen.
The Rt. Rev. Nicholas Baines is the bishop of Bradford in England.