We live “under the sun” in a fallen world. There is avarice and abuse, divorce and death, and crimes that range from misdemeanors to murder. Sometimes innocent people are found guilty while guilty people go free. Powerful politicians use their positions to keep people oppressed, and evil dictators use their power to put people to death. This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.
Many people become essentially paralyzed by living “under the sun.” They bemoan all that is taking place. The 24/7 news cycle always has another tragedy, catastrophe, or political move that keeps our emotions stirred. Social media leads us to another post that angers us or causes envy of the perfect family with perfect kids involved in perfect activities.
But Solomon reminds us that we must come to grips with reality.
I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be counted.
Solomon says that we cannot make the world different than it is—the “crooked cannot be made straight.” Not so fast, you say; I can vote the corrupt politician out of office. I can fight injustice and free the innocent man. I can fight abuse. Yes, you can do all those things, and you should be involved in promoting righteousness. And…there will always be another corrupt politician, injustice, and abuse. Remember that this world under the sun doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to.
So, what can you do? Godly wisdom gives you the discernment to check your heart and actions first. Godly wisdom allows you to live with an eternal perspective. Godly wisdom is not paralyzed with a “What’s this world coming to?” attitude but is energized by allowing God to grow us into those who demonstrate what it looks like to serve him. We can’t change the world, but we can ask God to change our hearts!
Father, forgive me for being spiritually paralyzed from all the news of evil around me. Empower me, by your Spirit, to change the things in my life to set a godly example for those in my life. In the words of the serenity prayer, help me to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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