12I said these things when I lived in Jerusalem as king of Israel.13With all my wisdom I tried to understand everything that happens here on earth. And God has made this so hard for us humans to do.14I have seen it all, and everything is just as senseless as chasing the wind.
15If something is crooked,
it can't be made straight;
if something isn't there,
it can't be counted.
16I said to myself, “You are by far the wisest person who has ever lived in Jerusalem. You are eager to learn, and you have learnt a lot.”17Then I decided to find out all I could about wisdom and foolishness. Soon I realized that this too was as senseless as chasing the wind.
18The more you know,
the more it hurts;
the more you understand,
the more you suffer.
Contemporary English Version. Copyright © 1995 British & Foreign Bible Society. Used by permission.
The world was an unknowable wilderness when our ancestors began to make their way in it. The nights were as dark as the bottom of the sea, and the stars had no names. We did not know what it was that broke twigs in the forest outside the ring of firelight, if it would be our friend or our devourer. We did not know what was bread and what was poison.
But we learned. We made tools and tamed the wild beasts and shone light into the dark corners of the earth, and she gave up her secrets to us. We pushed back the darkness of disease and disaster, of cold and hunger and pain. We began to live longer, and easier, and some said better.
But though we tried with all our art and all our science, there was darkness we could not illuminate. Within the artist and the scientist were hatred, and rage, and jealousy, and greed, and despair. But now, when that darkness claimed us, we had better weapons at hand than fists and fire. The tools of science and illumination were turned into weapons great and terrible, and our sorrows were increased.
It was not the fault of art or science, which had lit the night and filled in the corners of the maps for us. They had done their jobs, but we had neglected the true wilderness in which we were lost, and the true beasts at our door, and the night that can be lit only by him that is the Light of the world. Only when we allow him to light us from within with the burning luminescence of himself, can the wilderness become the garden again, and the beasts of our own natures our friends and servants.
Dear Father, You made a world for us to live in and the tools to thrive in it. Oh Father, tame the wilderness within me and teach me to care for myself as your creation, that I might be what I was created to be. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.