THE KEY Ecclesiastes 5: 8-20

A friend’s mother warns him to shy away from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes. Why? He’s not sure but he’s tiptoed around it ever since. Not me. I love this book. It’s nitty-gritty. Down-to-earth. With warts and all. That’s for me.

I know we hear that life today is jam-packed with anxieties. Super busy. Preoccupied. All wound up, tied up, and hung up. Less free time than what’s promised at one of the pavilions at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, where smart-aleck prognosticators picture us flying here and there in personal helicopters with household chores done solely by robots. In someone’s dreams. Or nightmares.

Hard-pressed and swamped only in our time? I don’t think so. In a way, we’re spoiled rotten. Troubles come followed quickly by a check from the government. Food galore makes us roly-poly and groggy. Possess so much stuff that we need self-storage facilities all over the place. Park $80,000 trucks in the driveway while enclosed garages overflow with junk galore. We’d be the envy of previous generations? Are you sure about that? I’m not.

In spite of someone’s warnings, check out Ecclesiastes 5:20–‘ For he will not much remember the days of his life because God keeps him occupied with joy in his heart.’ God focuses our hearts and minds joyfully upward rather than snared in a downdraft of worries and fears.

I wish someone would tell me how to do that. Sorry to admit that I quickly trip into thinking that the worst will happen in no time flat. One wrong move and God will get me. Anything bad must be my fault including earthquakes and enemy attacks. See what I mean? I know all about being preoccupied with what drags me down.

But it’s my occupation, so to speak, that the Lord wants. Pinpoint focusing on Him. Giving Him my life. After all, He can do more with it than I can. Being uplifted by God’s promises, getting His Word entrenched in my thick craw, crowding out those pins and needles. Pushing hard.

When I was going through a year of medical tests, surgery, and follow-ups, I kept Isaiah 26:3 right at hand, nestled firmly in my mind–‘ thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.’ When fear comes on stage, I quickly quote from God’s script. It feels reassuring, planting God’s Word deep within. The Bible standing by me, a most welcome companion, whose hand I hold onto tightly. And still do.

Did all my fears evaporate? Hardly. But they’re pushed out a bit more to the fringes of my mind allowing faith to make a better showing. No room for both in full bloom. Clip and prune your fears and faith grows taller and more muscular. It’s true. Give it a try.

But don’t wait for some disaster to strike. Find a couple of Bible verses to memorize this week. Why not Isaiah 26:3 and Ecclesiastes 5:20? Hold onto them. Don’t let go no matter what, and you’ll find yourself occupied with joy from the Lord Jesus, the key to life in all its fullness.

Lord Jesus, I love you, and thank you for always standing with me. Amen.

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