When the Coaster Gets Stuck
Folk singer/songwriter John Prine wrote these lyrics: “That’s the way the world goes ‘round / You’re up one minute and the next you’re down / It’s a half a cup of water and you think you’re gonna drown / That’s the way the world goes ‘round.” The song was popular. People could relate. One day we’re down and depressed by struggles with no end in sight. The next day we’re excited because things are great, but anxious because we don’t know how long the good time will last. Thankfully, God is a constant source of help through life’s ups and downs.
The philosopher Albert Camus said, “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” In our materialistic world, we are easily pulled into the pursuit of what we think will bring happiness and joy—things. These things, we are told, will give us excitement, purpose and meaning. Where do we find meaning? The book of Ecclesiastes provides instruction on how to live meaningfully, purposefully and joyfully. It tells us to place God at the center of our work, activity and life.
Running off the Rails
Job had been lying in misery for months with open sores all over his body. During this time he bore the grief of seven dead sons and three dead daughters. His wealth vanished in one afternoon. He became repulsive to his wife, loathsome to his brothers and even little children despised him as he lay on the town’s ash heap. The hardships we face in life serve to help us understand our own shortcomings and deficiencies. By relying on God to get us through these times of pain, we come to have real knowledge of God’s will for our lives.