“I Hated Life”
The story is told of two young boys. One was pessimistic and chronically negative. The other was optimistic and always positive.
A test was given to further assess the depths of the boys’ outlooks on life. The pessimistic boy was placed in a large room filled with hundreds of his favorite toys and games. Everything he had ever desired was there for him.
True to form, instead of enjoying what had been provided, the boy became frustrated and just stood in the middle of the room, folding his hands, not touching anything. When asked what was wrong, the boy complained, “I’ll never be able to play with all of these toys and I don’t even know where to start.”
Meanwhile, the optimistic boy was taken to a different room. He was told to open the door and walk in. He skipped over and opened the door only to be met with a pungent odor and a horrible view. The room was filled with manure. The boy paused for a moment to catch his breath, but then went ahead, wading in ankle-deep, closing the door behind him.
After a momentary pause, the boy suddenly reached down and started flinging manure all over the room. He was almost diving down into the stuff while laughing and having a great time. Finally, someone opened the door and got the boy’s attention, asking “What are you doing?! The boy replied, “With all this manure, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”
Now that’s optimism!
Contrast that with Solomon’s words in Ecclesiastes:
“So I hated life, because what is done under the sun was grievous to me, for all is vanity and a striving after wind.”. Ecclesiastes 2:17 ESV
Solomon had wealth, he had women, he had power and prestige. He was respected by other nations, but he had lost sight of the value of his relationship with God. As a result, King Solomon viewed life from an entirely “earthly” lens. He only saw what was done “under the sun” and therefore came to hate life, despite his riches, fame, power, and relationships.
There are many circumstances in life which you cannot control, but here are a few things you can change:
- Your Perspective. If you have an “under the sun” perspective, you will, like Solomon, eventually conclude that life is vanity and meaningless. What brings meaning to life is an eternal perspective. Here on earth, life’s tough questions can steal a person’s hopes and dreams, but when life’s questions are seen from the vantage point of eternity, hopes and dreams can live again.
- Your Attitude. No one else controls your attitude but you. If you keep your attitude up, you will never be kept down.
- Your Faith. Ask yourself, “Where am I placing my faith (trust, dependence)?” If your faith is in anything “under the sun” you need to look higher. Meaning in life is only found in the Person of Jesus Christ, whose name is not only above the sun, it is above every other name (Phil. 2:9). Put your faith in Him.
Despite being known for his wisdom, Solomon strayed from an eternal perspective and became trapped in the limitations and frustrations of life under the sun. Can you relate?
Lift up your eyes. There is meaning to be found.