Whatever exists has already been named, and it is known what man is; for he cannot dispute with Him who is mightier than he. For there are many other words that increase futility. What then is the advantage for a man? For who knows what is good for man during his lifetime, during the few days of his futile life? He spends them like a shadow. For who can tell a man what will happen after him under the sun?
Confidence is one thing, but this man’s opinion of himself went way beyond that. If he could have described himself with one word, it would have been “best.” In his opinion, he was the best at what he did, he had the best of what there was, and he lived his life the best way a person could live. He thought he had figured out the secret to success and happiness, and he would say that to anyone who would lend an ear. From where he was standing, life was good. He could not imagine living at less than that level, and he truly thought life could get no better than what he had. What he did not realize was how limited and brief this life is, and how short-sighted a man can be. All the greatness he thought he found in himself and in this world was a mere shadow of what could be available to him if he only let God give it to him.
The lives we live before being redeemed by God are truly lived in shadow, only a mere taste of existence. The time that we spend here on Earth, even if we live to be one hundred years old, is nothing when compared with the eternity that God has put in our hearts and makes available to us. The bodies that we occupy in the here and now are nothing compared to the glorified bodies that God has for us to occupy in eternity. The knowledge and wisdom that we gain by our own means are nothing compared to the knowledge and wisdom that God desires to impart to us. The love that we share and experience with people is nothing compared to the love that we can have through God. No matter how great life might seem without him, everything in that life is only a shadow of what God makes available to us. That is because, despite how small sin has made this life, God has designed us for more.
It takes knowing God and spending time with him to truly understand how incomplete we are and how incomplete this life is. Whether it is our physical power or our brain power, we have so little within ourselves. Whether individually or together, we are nowhere near as great as we might think. Living a life without God is living a life that is full of shadows of what could be. We are born into lives that give us only a glimpse of the wonder that God has meant for his children. When life is spent without him, it is just a momentary blip of a person who will be forgotten. What God wants for us is eternal life in a glorified body with a perfected spirit and soul. Father, thank You for revealing to us that this is a mere shadow and for drawing us into the greater life that You have available for us.