Jump Start #3303
Jump Start # 3303
Ecclesiastes 11:8 “Indeed, if a man should live many years, let him rejoice in them all, and let him remember the days of darkness, for they will be many. Everything that is to come will be futility.”
In the closing pages of Solomon’s journal that we call Ecclesiastes, he mentions remembering three different times. Here in our verse, “remember the days of darkness.” At the start of the next chapter, “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth” (12:1). Then, later in that chapter, “Remember Him” (12:6).
We think of the words of Jesus, “Do this in memory of me,” or, as stated on many old communion tables, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Memory lane. Precious memories. Photo albums are a great way to bring back fond memories. Visiting the places where you once grew up, floods the mind with all kinds of memories.
Our verse today, is not something that most of us want to remember. In fact, if there was a list of things we’d like to forget, “the days of darkness,” as our verse states, would be high on the list. Who wants to remember darkness? And, worse, “days of darkness?” Not one day, but days.
Why would anyone want to remember days of darkness?
First, there are always lessons to be learned in the valleys of life. God uses suffering and trials as one of His greatest classrooms. We see things in the darkness that we never see in the bright sunlight of life. Character, hope and prayers become a big part of getting through darkness. And, found within that idea of remembering is the idea that the days of darkness are behind us. They are in the past. We got through them.
Second, one will see that God was with him, even in the darkness. That journey through the valley of the shadow of death, in the great Shepherd Psalm, takes place with the Lord leading us. It wasn’t a wrong turn. It wasn’t a mistake that he was there. He was following the Shepherd and that led him through those valleys. Remembering that will help one. You were not forsaken nor forgotten. God was with you.
Third, remembering the darkness will be useful when we help others who are in their darkness. We remember what worked and what didn’t work. What was good and what wasn’t good. And, the knowledge we learned and can share will help others from having such a difficult time. Maybe their darkness will not be as long because of the good that we share with them.
Fourth, remembering the darkness helps us to count our blessings and be thankful for the brightness about us. Some will only dwell upon the darkness. Others will only think about the sunshine. But both are a part of life and both are steps in our journey with the Lord. Life is not all darkness. But neither is it all sunshine. And, what we find is that God is there, always.
Car accidents. Surgeries. Times we had to apologize. Feeling alone. Hurt by others. Being blamed. The darkness can really be dark. Remembering can help us from making the same mistakes. Remembering can help us make better choices. Remembering can led us to being thankful for being on the other side of those valleys.
Remember when you were sick in bed with the stomach flu. Every minute seemed like days. You wondered if you would ever feel better again. Every commercial on TV was about food, which only made you nauseous. How many days, weeks, months have you felt great but you just didn’t think about that. You took that for granted. You went to bed expecting to feel fine the next day. Those days of darkness can help us appreciate the many more days of sunshine that there has been in our life.
Have you had some darkness in your life? I expect you have. Do you remember? Would you have done things differently? Did you learn anything? Are you any better because of those days?
That’s the value of remembering dark days. Our culture has no place for such talk. It’s all about happiness. And, in that one sided view of life, our culture is missing so much. Darkness comes whether you remember it or not. Darkness is hard to cover and pretend that it is not there.
Better is the one who walks by faith and understands the love of the Lord.