‘What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man.’ ~ Ecclesiastes 3:9-113
Today, while walking to church, Theo quoted Ecclesiastes 3:11 and it has been resounding in my mind throughout the day:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”
Indeed, one of the first comments I got when I talked to different people about the verse was that God is such a wonderful and amazing poet.
‘He has put eternity in our hearts’.
At first, it seems so ironic. Eternity has been put into the heart of a finite, material and narrow-minded creature. We humans might have our whole lives planned out, but it is nothing compared to eternity; forever and ever.
Yet, God puts it in our HEARTS. Our heart is the only thing that stretches our physical limits and goes beyond our mental capacity. With our hearts, we cherish moments we cannot physically replay. With our hearts, we learn to love each other despite the hatred and betrayals. Ultimately, our heart triumphs over our body and mind, no matter how hard we suppress it – which is why the evil will still love their own children. It is innate.
More importantly, it is with this heart that we learn to love our God more and more. With our hearts, we are limitless in what and how we live, feel and hope.
When God places eternity in us, He places in us a longing to find out more and to desire for things beyond this physical earthly world.
We inherently desire eternity. We inherently desire spirituality and God. And I think this is why we naturally marvel at beauty and desire for things beyond our grasp.
How do I know this? I believe that humans are the only creatures who can think about thinking, who are aware of our feelings and who truly appreciate beauty. We can take morning walks, then stop and stare at the sunrise and morning dew. We can simply stand in awe at the surreal majesty of the mountains, forests and oceans.
I see beauty in the snow drops that droop at Shern and Angela’s back garden. I marvel at the way Nat lay in my arms, sleeping. How my heart stands still when I look at the people I love so dearly. So surely, God has given us eternity in our hearts; a desire to see and feel for more than what we have and what we are.
In particular, I like the NLT version:
‘He has planted eternity in the human heart’ – we’re each like a seed that grows, blooms and bears fruit in our longing for the infinite.
Yet, I find it funny how we have eternity in our hearts, yet are unable to fathom what God has done. God has engrained in us a longing, a desire, and yet, we lack the knowledge to withhold such truths. Yet, God fulfils our desires slowly but surely. Singing hymns in church, praying in the Spirit, sitting still in front of the cross – these are the moments we may not see the full picture, but we still glimpses of eternity. Maybe in heaven, we’ll see the panoramic view!
Then again, another version says that ‘Also that eternity hath he placed in their heart, without which man could not find out the work which God hath made from the commencement to the end’.
One day, we will understand and fathom that God’s plans for us extend into eternity. Which is why everything is made beautiful in its time.