My wife and I live a short distance east of Portland, Oregon, at the west end of the Gorge. The Gorge is a canyon that follows the Columbia River along the northern border of Oregon. It is not uncommon during the winter to get sustained wind speeds of 20 miles per hour, with gusts registering 40 miles an hour or more blasting down the Gorge. And the winds are cold. We also have windy days during the summer, but at least they’re warm.
Solomon was a king of Israel around 1000 BC. His advice is recorded in the book of Ecclesiastes [ee-cleez’-ee-ast’-eez] in the Bible. He was genius-level intelligent and very wealthy. His insatiable thirst for knowledge led him to become an expert in a variety of subjects, from botany to zoology. He wrote over one thousand songs. He designed buildings, parks, vineyards, and trading ships. He enjoyed fancy parties and the finest entertainment. Nothing was beyond his reach.
But after years of all these pursuits, he summed them up as “chasing the wind.” Chasing the wind is like trying to get a solid grasp on smoke. You can grab it, but when you open your hand, nothing’s there. Solomon recognized that the excitement of any endeavor is temporary. Whether the heightened anticipation at the start of a project, or the sense of accomplishment when it is finished, the feeling of fulfillment doesn’t last forever. It’s only temporary.
Solomon wasn’t saying that it’s wrong to pursue an education or have nice things. He wasn’t against improving businesses or enjoying entertainment and the fine arts. He was simply telling us that those things won’t bring lasting joy. He concluded his letter with these words, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” His summary of life was that we shouldn’t leave God out of our lives, but we should put Him first in everything.
A music artist said in one of his more honest moments that during his concert he feels on top of the world. But it’s a letdown after the stadium has emptied and the applause have silenced. When he’s back in his hotel room, reality comes barging back in to remind him that he’s just another man. The last couple hours were enjoyable, but the excitement doesn’t last long.
Does God have a primary place in your life? If He seems distant, let me recommend that you read through the first four books of the New Testament. They are biographies of Jesus, firsthand accounts of His life. Don’t accept what others say about Him. Investigate His life for yourself.
When you grab onto Jesus, you’ll never again open your hand to find it empty. You will experience a lasting deep-seated joy and fulfillment as you follow Him. I’m not saying that you won’t have any more times of sorrow and disappointment, but you’ll never be alone. Jesus will walk with you through it all. His presence will refresh your soul like a warm, gentle breeze.