‘No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.’ (v17) Ecclesiastes 8:16–17

One lesson the Covid pandemic has reinforced is that humanity is a long way from being in charge of its own destiny. For all the scientific and technological advances made through reasoned endeavour, there remain factors which lie well beyond our control.

Even though developed nations may have a better chance of managing their impact, the true helplessness of humanity is reflected in those nations where finance and infrastructure cannot be managed to minimize the impact of forces outside of our understanding and control. 

Rationality has its place and also its limitations. Comprehending God requires that I step beyond rationality. If God didn’t lie outside our rational mind then He couldn’t remain omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent. 

What are we to make of circumstances we cannot comprehend? They can either remain a source of anguish or we can entrust them into God’s purpose. Lying outside our understanding, they remain the litmus test of our faith. Not an abject surrender but a bold declaration that, despite everything, our God reigns (Psa. 146:1–5).

Resilience requires that we find the resolve to lay hold of the inner resource and external support and encouragement to take the hand life has dealt us and rise to its incomprehensible challenges. Here we find the unique person God created us to become.

RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Psa. 97; Isa. 52; Matt. 11:25–30; Heb. 11:13–16,39–40. 

AN ACTION TO TAKE: How do you reconcile the troubles you encounter in life with God’s gospel of grace? What steps can you take to reach God when suffering enters your life? 

A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, “I need Thee, oh, I need Thee; Ev’ry hour I need Thee; Oh, bless me now, my Savior, I come to Thee”. Amen.’

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Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.