He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV
If you are like me, you may find it challenging to read Ecclesiastes. And maybe even a little depressing. It is easy to get the impression that it really doesn’t matter all that much what we do. We all end up in the grave in the end. So you are better off just to enjoy your life as much as you can during the few years that you have here under the sun.
But all is not doom and gloom. Ecclesiastes is an inspired writing that God has given to us for a purpose. I believe it reflects a more limited understanding of God than is found later in the Old Testament, and throughout the New Testament. But it still has something to teach us.
Eternity In Our Hearts
And this passage contains one of those nuggets. God has set eternity in the heart of man. What does that mean? I believe it is saying that God has put something within us that longs for more than this life. The proper response to the question, “Is this all there is?”, is no. God has prepared something for us beyond the short years of our life here. And he has put within us a longing for that future.
What that future is has been revealed to us more clearly in the New Testament than what Solomon had. But, in the end, it is still a mystery for now. However, it is the hope we have as believers. And something we can look forward to.
There is something that is built into each of us. A deep seated feeling that there has to be more than just this life. Otherwise, what purpose is there in life? And that longing for purpose and meaning of life can, and should, lead people to the one who can give meaning and purpose to life.