S81P3 – The sorrowful saint: truly sees the world

Ecc. 1:16-18

I communed with my heart, saying, “Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge.” And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind. For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

He had not given his life to Jesus Christ until he was a young adult, so sin was not a foreign concept to him.  He had been in the world and of the world, and his life once was focused on nothing more than satisfying his flesh.  At first, salvation was an eye-opening experience on an internal level.  He first had to come to terms with his own imperfection and depravity, his need for a savior, and the fact that he would be led to ruin if left to his own devices.  All of this was still about himself.  He had not expected that he would have the same eye-opening experiences on an external level.  Once he came to know the Lord, the world he once had called his home now began to show a crumbling facade.  He could see how lost it was, how lost so many other people were, and he could not control his sorrow at that realization.

Emotionally, salvation is a double-edged sword.  On one side we have the joy and appreciation for Jesus setting us free from sin and making a way for us to spend eternity in the presence of God.  On the other side we have the knowledge of just how lost so many people still are. Certain things in the world which previously seemed innocuous or normal to us now stand out because we see exactly how evil they are and how they serve only to work at destroying humanity.  Solomon makes a poignant realization about knowledge and wisdom in this world.  The more we learn, the more we know, the more we understand exactly what is going on around us.  The spiritual activity which might have eluded us previously now gets our attention, and that matters.  On a daily basis we see more clearly the evil that is at work against God’s creation, and it should bring us sorrow.

If my heart does not break over what is happening in the world around us, then I am not seeing things clearly.  If I am wise to the devil’s schemes and knowledgeable about the work of sin inside and around us, then I will be moved to sorrow because I will understand this grave human condition we suffer.  The severity of this condition is such that the Son of God himself had to be sacrificed in order for us to break free. That is extreme.  Although we have hope that anyone can be saved from the clutches of this evil world, we must remain realists in admitting that evil is still at work in a great way here.  That should move us to sorrow, which should move us to work against that evil.  Father, open our eyes to see the truth of sin in this world, that we would be hopeful yet moved to work against that sin.