Perish, the thought
“Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him.” (Ecclesiastes 5-6)
Death is not the escape you might think it is. And don’t think me morbid, but have you ever been so miserable that death is looked upon as a “sweet escape”? More of a cop-out, really. Why should we quit now? As Solomon said, “a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.” Before I go any further, I feel I must add that the person he’s referencing in the above passage may not be entirely in tune with God, it doesn’t quite come through in the translation. Humor me here.
Time marches on. That’s one of the best consolations when going through a time of intense trial and suffering. It can’t last forever.
“Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” (Psalm 37:3-5) That’s all well and good, but look again at what Solomon said: “the misery of man is great upon him“. Depression is a monster. Whatever type it is, if you need help, don’t hesitate to get it. But pray about it. Don’t let it be something that you go through without God. Because it will pass, that much is true. The ideal, however, is that we get to know God better on our way through the valley of the shadow of death. And when it says that “God will give thee the desires of thine heart”, sometimes, nothing on the outside (or inside, it would seem) testifies to the truth and hope of that statement.
Banish the thought
So what does it mean when it says “a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment”? Greater things are going on in our life and our world. David continues in his passage (from Psalm 37:6). He says “And [God] shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.” That’s what you were waiting for: Exoneration. Understanding. Wisdom. A sense of victory about your deep circumstances. An end to the confusion and depression. There have been times in my life where the unanswered questions were so many and so dense, that even Heaven itself did not seem like the escape that would have silenced the misery. That’s deep. But I knew that there was something I was not seeing right. Some glimmer of understanding that would clear up the confusion surrounding the circumstances in which I found myself (and had gotten myself into). “Time and judgment”. “Righteousness and judgment”. Those things were like the silver-lining on the storm clouds that helped me to know that there were brighter and beautiful days ahead. And it’s because of God that I even saw any hope at all.
“For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be?” (Ecclesiastes 8:7) But you know God. And God knows you. He also knows how long it will last. The mediation takes time. Let Him carry you through it to brighter and more beautiful days. And when you get there, you’ll have learned the lessons necessary to never go back again (unless you’re invited to return to help others in the same cell).
In closing, the word “sepulchral” refers to a tomb, while the word “pulchritude” at first glance might sound like it means something similar. It actually means “physically beautiful”; they’re from different roots. Quite the opposite, actually. Look for the beauty in your misery. It’s there.
The light at the end