Month 5:25, Week 4:3 (Shleshi/Bikkurim), Year:Day 5936:143 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Sunday 12 August 2012
Seeing Who You Are
A Purpose of Trial & Tribulation
I don't know whether you feel you have been under test recently but one thing I have noticed is that when we are going through a trial, and especially one that seems to have no end in sight that is stretching our emunah (faith, trusting) to the utmost limit, that all kinds of unpleasant things arise from our levim (hearts) that frankly shock us. 'That's not me!' we tell ourselves, but when it keeps coming up again and again, it makes you sit back and think soberly as to whether it might be. Trials are often sent by Yahweh to enable us to finally see something we may be in deep denial about.
"In dealing with men it is Elohim's (God's) purpose to test them and to see what they truly are" (Eccl.3:18, NEB).
Ecclesiastes is, frankly, not one of my favourite Bible books because it is a sober review of life by an oppulent king who has indulged the flesh, 'tried everything' and discovered the futility of doing anything that is not in Yahweh's will. I guess it throws up a mirror at me sometimes. The king (Solomon) writes, a few verses earlier in today's passage:
The New English Bible (NEB) translation captures the emet (truth) that Solomon is trying to convey here better than any other translation I know which is why I quote it today . He is explaining an extremely deep concept that only someone with a philosopher's mind like his own could adequately convey. Essentially he is saying that Yahweh not only sees into the past and future but that past and future are eternally before Him. It is we who are locked in time and He summoses pre-planned 'events' for us so that we can see exactly who we are and what it is we have to do to change direction in life (because of sin) when that is necessary. One of the main reasons we are permitted to suffer is to enable us to see where we are and what yet needs to be done. It may be an extremely uncomfortable experience and one we'd rather escape but so long as we understand that Yahweh has permitted and engineered it we can work our way through it, making the necessary life-adjustments, and do so in shalom (peace). Trying to avoid such pre-designed moments may well cost us dearly. It is always good to know that there is a purpose for our trials and tribulations even if we don't know what that purpose is at first. Then we can exercise emunah (faith) to trust that after it is over we will clearly understand what it was for.
"What profit does one who works get from all his labour? I have seen the business that Elohim (God) has given men to keep them busy. He has made everything to suit its time; moreover, He has given men a sense of time past and future, but no comprehension of Elohim's (God's) work from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing good for man except to be happy and live the best life he can while he is alive. Moreover, that a man should eat and drink and enjoy himself, in return for all his labours, is a gift of Elohim (God). I know that whatever Elohim (God) does lasts forever; to add to it or subtract from it is impossible. And He has done it all in such a way that men must feel awe in His presence. Whatever is has been already, and whatever is to come has been already, and Elohim (God) summons each event back in its turn" (Eccl.3:9-15, NEB).
At the centre of every natural tornado there is a peaceful centre just as there is at the centre of every trial Yahweh sends. He does not want us beaten up by our trials! It is for us to choose whether we find our rest in Him at the centre or get thrown around. And remember, the whole of life in this veil of mortality is itself a test, a tornado of sorts, to see who we are, what we have chosen, and what kind of character we have permitted ourselves to become. It is up to us whether we choose to be in Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) at the centre or reject Him and be tossed about in apparent meaninglessness.
Choose Him today and find rest!
 It's not the doctrinally most reliable translation, coming as it did on the initiative of an ecumenical Protestant-Catholic council, but it's English prose is masterful and every bit the mid-20th century equivalent of the esteemed King James Version. I highly recommend it for its rendering of the Tanakh (Old Testament) wisdom literature, including the Song of Solomon.