“Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens…” Those might be familiar lyrics from Julie Andrew in the Sound of Music when she sang to the children of good things in the midst of a thunderstorm to calm their troubled spirits. Thinking good thoughts, however, is insufficient to change the outcome of a situation, but in the midst of life’s troubles it is a pleasing thing to rejoice in the little things the Lord brings the believer’s way.
That is the wisdom of Ecclesiastes:
…that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man. (Eccl 3:13; c.f. 5:18–20, 7:14a, 8:15, 9:7–9, 11:9).
The believer is not guaranteed blessed ease in this life (though we easily fall prey to believing the prosperity lie); finding meaning in pleasure is a vain mist, wishful thinking, like chasing after the wind. But we can rejoice in God’s grace and goodness that He does send us in the midst of life’s troubles. We cannot control them, they are not guaranteed (we certainly don’t deserve them), but when they come, we can enjoy them as a gift from God.
The Christian life is often described as a pilgrimage. The journey is not the destination. Along the way to heaven, like a trip, there will be hills and wild animals and snowstorms, but there will also be panoramic views, still streams and sweet meadows. Total trust in the Lord enables us to be content in suffering and free to enjoy the blessings we do receive.
So the next time you hear a beautiful piece of music, behold a masterful sunset, have a cherished moment with your child, sip a good cup of tea, smell a fragrant flower, share in a good meal with friends, experience a warm summer’s rain or a beam of sunshine on your face, take a pleasant walk, hold your spouse’s hand, feel a quilts warm embrace, read a good book, take a trip down memory lane, enjoy the comfort of home in a snowstorm, savour a fireside chat or receive a letter from a friend—don’t simply “remember my favourite things”—delight in the gift that the Gift Giver has given you, and give Him thanks.
 Ecclesiastes very much speaks wisdom to everyone, and in His common grace, God gives unbelievers tender mercies too, however, central to accessing the wisdom Ecclesiastes’ offer is “the fear of the Lord” and hence why I have the believer in view here.
 Ecclesiastes actually sees God as the ultimate author of even our hardships. See Eccl 7:13 and 14. Rather than feeling like life (and God) are less than our troubles, when we see He has ordained them, we rest in a trust in Him and thus are freed to submit to His good purposes in them.
Author: Chris Crocker
Pastor, historian and beekeeper.