“It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun…
and to accept their lot in life…To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life –
this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy
enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.”
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 NLT
I read this passage and was inspired to write a story about my own troubled walk with toil that I’d like to share with you. Perhaps you can relate.
I walked along a rugged path, searching for meaning high and low. When I could not find it here, I turned to look for it there. When still meaning evaded me, I flipped over rocks and reached my hand into crannies, yet I could not find it. From one stop to the next, I searched and searched, growing more despaired with each step forward.
“What is my purpose!” I shouted to the sky. “Why is my path so desolate!” Even though I took a left, and then a right, I ended up back on this same, meaningless path. In the distance, I saw a woman walking along her own path. Her path was blooming with flowers and buzzing with bees. The sun shone down on her. I fell to my knees along my own barren path and shook my fist at the sky. “Lord!” I cried out, “why have you abandoned me?”
Immediately dark clouds filled the sky, and a storm began to rage. I shielded my eyes but watched as the torrential rain washed over the path behind me, rolling away stones and filling crevices that marked my troubled toil. As I lay defeated, curled in a ball on the muddied earth beneath me, I felt the rain begin to soften. Soon after, the rain stopped. The clouds parted, and I felt a sliver of sunlight dance down from heaven to warm my cheek.
When I propped myself up and turned to survey the damage, I was surprised to see beauty. Where before all looked grey, I noticed little pops of color, small fruits and flowers glistening in the sun as the rain drops dried. Looking back on my path, on the toils of my life, I saw that it was bursting with meaning. The Lord did not abandon me. His love and care were evident under every heavy stone and within every barren crevice. A light breeze warmed my skin, and I closed my eyes to savor it.
I heard the Lord speak clearly to me, “Your lot is my gift to you. I am your meaning.”
With satisfaction, I turned to face the path ahead of me. I saw fields of flowers sprinkled with more heavy stones and crevices. But I won’t despair what may lie ahead in the distance or what lies behind me.
Instead, I will focus on my next step. It looks exactly like where I stand right now, but I no longer see desolation. I see God and He is with me, holding my hand, giving me meaning. Yesterday’s toils were not wasted, nor are today’s or tomorrow’s. This is my lot, and it is a gift from God. I am satisfied.
Dear friends, I bless you with satisfaction in your lot. I bless you with joy in your toils, whether you’re in a cold crevice or a warm, peaceful meadow. The Lord is with you. You will not fall.
Claire Savageau – September 19, 2023