There is a certain rat race redundancy to life “under the sun” that Ecclesiastes 1 captures brilliantly.
9What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;there is nothing new under the sun.10Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”?It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.
Despite everything that feels new to many of us, this is not our first rodeo. Everything that we are going through, humanity has been through in one form or another on countless occasions. And if you think, “Well that’s silly. There is more new stuff than ever before in history.'” Ecclesiastes would say yes and no. Our stuff is new, but our substance, successes, struggles, and sins are the same old, same old. There is very much a “been there, done that” quality to life. So what’s the point of this reminder?1. It Helps Us with Humility. There are a lot of things that can make us feel above the human struggle, beyond the reach of problems like this. But life has a way of humbling us. No individual, no segment of society, no nation is beyond struggle, strife, or sin. For all of our many strengths and successes, we still have many vulnerabilities that should keep us humble enough to keep relying on God. 2. It Helps Us Home in on What’s Important. We don’t get to pick the time in which we live. What we do get to do is choose the lives we will live in the times in which we find ourselves. We can find the beauty in the everyday, even when there is a lot that is ugly. And we can find what is eternal to hold onto, because times like these remind us of all that is temporal (vanity, like a mist, here today and gone tomorrow). 3. It Helps Us with Hope. While this may be our first rodeo, it’s not God’s. Like the amazing testimony of Mildred Wolk reminded us, God has seen it all. God has walked with humanity through it all. God will be here after it all. God will help us make it through. And while there may be nothing truly new under the sun, God, through Jesus has something new in store for all creation that gets us out of the rat race once and for all.