By Rev. Laurel Buwalda
So I commend the enjoyment of life, because there is nothing better for a person under the sun than to eat and drink and be glad. Then joy will accompany them in their toil all the days of the life God has given them under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8:15 (NIV)
Gracious Father, when I read this verse I almost laughed out loud. The last few seasons have been demanding and have depleted the healthy emotional reserves of so many people that I cherish. It seems as though living a life with enjoyment is a silly and idealistic notion that can only point to spiritual immaturity. At the very least, the enjoyment of life is a back burner goal until we get this broken world back on track. I’m so thankful that you are God and I am not.
I’m thankful that you understand my weakness and that you desire to give me refreshment.
I love that you approve of the enjoyment of life, but I must seek forgiveness for the times when I lingered too long in my own state of seriousness and missed opportunities to experience more of your joy. Forgive me for thinking that being serious all the time could somehow add to my wisdom or spiritual maturity.
I praise you for this new season, and for the hope of seeds that will bear fruit and perennials. I praise you for designing us for pleasure–for thin crust pizza, chocolate chip cookies, and the warmth of a cup of coffee between my hands. I praise you for my husband and the way he teasingly inserts my name into everyday phrases to make me laugh, and for his calloused hands that snag all my sweaters. I praise you for the giggles of both my aging mother and my young grandson. I praise you for contemporary and traditional ways to worship you, and for the way you show up in friends at just the right time. I praise you for each sunrise and sunset and for every evening cruise we can take in the classic truck.
Thank you for intending that we would even have enjoyment in our daily work, in our sorrow, and in our grief. Thank you for seamlessly weaving blessing into every sorrow and for being the lifter of my chin.
Father, thank you for the truth of the Gospel. It is in this truth that we are able to glorify you today and enjoy you forever. I pray this all with gratitude and hope. Amen
Originally published in Gritty Faith Volume 15. Written by Rev. Laurel Buwalda.