Ecclesiastes emptiness

By Elizabeth Prata

“Nothing teaches us so much the preciousness of the Creator, as when we learn the emptiness of all besides.

Source of that quite: Seek Him in Trouble Job 23:3, Morning and Evening Spurgeon Devotional

That was true for me. I spent decades searching. For what, I didn’t know. Just to fill a gnawing emptiness. Husband, got one. House, got one-and a new one at that. Fancy! Fulfilling job, yup. Awards for said job, yes.

I was still unhappy. Why was I unhappy? Wasn’t that the American dream? Why did I cry silently and uncomprehendingly in the deep of the night? Why did I feel empty with all these glittering achievements and societal tokens of success heaped around me?

So I concluded, in my logical mind, that I must be approaching life wrong. I decided to abandon “The American Dream” and live a different way. Husband had not been in the picture for a few years, so I decided to sell or rent the house, take a leave of absence from my teaching job, and sail off with a new boyfriend in his yacht. I was living ‘off the grid.’ Yeah,’ that’s the ticket, step away from the lifestyle of 2.5 kids and white picket fence work till retirement then take a cruise. I wanted to cruise now! So we sailed off on our yacht and saw sunsets and dolphins and lazed our way down the eastern seaboard and anchored in The Bahamas in blue clear water and put our feet up and said ‘ahhh, this is the life’.

Except it wasn’t.

A permanent vacation! A fancy yacht! A waterfront cabin to go back to! Why was I unhappy? Why did I crawl from our berth to sit in the cockpit under the moon and weep? What was missing? I had love, money, my own yacht, and all the free time I wanted. It was all empty leading to more emptiness.

So we returned to the cabin and decided to travel more. THAT is the way, see the world! We saw Europe, the US, Mexico, Canada. I decided that learning about what I was seeing was the way to go. I took classes in bookbinding, Italian, journalism. Used it to deepen my knowledge when we traveled.

Still unhappy. So, MORE knowledge. Advanced degree, got it, and with a 4.0 grade point average too.

Still tears. Why, Why WHY?

I decided that having a purpose in life was what mattered. I had a waterfront home, no debt, plenty of money, and a loving husband (the sailing boyfriend and I got married eventually). I started a business that kept me very busy for almost 6 years. I earned awards in my industry, notoriety, and community respect.

I was busy. I was involved. I was feted. I was still yearning for a something I did not know. A something that would wipe away all the feeling of…dare I say…pointlessness? Why did I feel that life was pointless if I had everything that the world told me would make me happy?

Graciously, the Lord reached down to me in my pitiable state and rescued me from His wrath for my sin. My new mind (the mind of Christ) was now allowing me to see WHY I’d felt empty all those decades, despite the many achievements, goals, and desired & whims I fulfilled. I could see the world clearly now. It held only a polluted and corrupted allure.

The true allure is Christ. He is glory, perfection, and holiness itself. He is beauty, kindness, and love. THAT IS WHAT WAS MISSING! Or should I say “Who” was missing. Jesus fulfills completely. He makes our vision clear, the heart happy, and the soul filled. He gives us that transcendent vision of external seeing that we now observe the world for what it is- a passing corruption. He gives us the point to life, His glory and our enjoyment of Him. he gives us opportunities for real success, sharing His Gospel so souls can be saved.

Solomon said it: “All is vanity”. All else besides Christ is vanity. Pursuing the things I did, thinking they would fulfill me, did- but only for a time. Then they palled as I sought another vanity coming over the horizon. I pursued THAT one, only to find I was striving after wind.

You cannot grasp wind. But you can grasp Jesus, the ROCK.

I recommend the book of read Ecclesiastes. Deeply study it.

Further Reading:

Ecclesiastes: Overview

Exposit The Word: Sermons through Ecclesiastes

Summary of the Book of Ecclesiastes

Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End book, by David Gibson