Speaker: Bonnie Sala | Series: Guidelines For Living | “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless! Ecclesiastes 1:2 NLT
Only 43 when he died suddenly, Oswald Chambers was a no-nonsense British chaplain in World War 1. A month before his death in 1917, he gave a series of talks to the troops stationed in Egypt. His text was a bit different—the book of Ecclesiastes. Even people who don’t know much about the Bible know the famous, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens; a time to be born, and a time to die,” But the book of Ecclesiastes begins with the words: “Everything is meaningless.”
The theme hardly seems an inspiring one for a chaplain to give to men facing the gruesome horrors of war, the likes of which had never been seen before. And yet, there was a stark realism to his sermon that matched the nightmare the world was living through. “The basis of things,” Chambers wrote, “is not rational, but tragic,” and this is view of life that the Bible actually presents us with. “There ought to be no sin, no war, no devil, no sickness, no injustice; but these things are!”
This is real life. This is the life that each of us, in some painful way, knows. My friend Dana knows it. Her handsome son, a world class professional athlete, fought for two years before dying of cancer at the age of 28. My friend Laura knows it, for she has grieved through miscarriage after miscarriage, her arms still empty. The veteran who can’t get the horrors of an ambush out of his dreams knows it as does the boy who has now grown into a man, with the disparaging names his father called him still ringing in his head. This life isn’t as it should be. In true thinking of things as they actually are there is always a bedrock of unmitigated sadness,” said Chambers.
But this is where the Bible differs from any other religious text. “The Bible reveals that the basis of things is tragic and the way out is by redemption.” The Bible, and the faith of the Christian, addresses life as it is and says there is only one God and “His name is Jesus Christ and in Him we see mirrored what the human race will be like on the basis of Redemption.”
There is an utterly honest tension at play in Christianity for it presents us with the absolute worst and the absolute best news we will ever hear. In this regard, it stands apart from any other religion or spiritual belief system. Man is rebellious, sinful, full of wrath and deserving of death. And, we can be eternally saved by God, because of His incredible love for us, despite our persistent struggle with sin.
“For now we see through a glass darkly” admits the book of 1 Corinthians, “but then,” it says, “But then, we shall see face to face” (1 Corinthians 12:12 KJV). We can’t pretend that man hasn’t made a mess. But God acknowledged the reality that His creation chose and made a way for us and all of creation to be redeemed! Apart from relationship with God, yes, “everything is meaningless.” But, “Jesus Christ is the One Who can transmute everything we come across.”
Is there loss or pain in your life that you are waiting on Jesus to redeem? Believer, Jesus is with us in this world as it is, but we have the promise that He will make all things new in His time and for all eternity! “Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love” writes the Psalmist, “…with Him is full redemption.” (Psalm 130:7).
Resource Reading: Psalm 103:8-17
 Oswald Chambers, Shade of His Hand (Fort Washington: Christian Literature Crusade, 1936), 4.
 Ibid., 5.