Playing The Triangle

Nancy Hatcher, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | July 4, 2024

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 
Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

After reading today’s passage, I hope you have plans to do something other than toil this fourth of July. When I look at the word toil, it makes me feel exhausted. There is no doubt in my mind this word has a negative connotation. However, many of us can identify with working hard. In God’s wisdom, he tells me that I will find satisfaction in hard work and that it is a gift from God. 

And I agree. My husband is laughing right now, and in his head, he’s saying, “Really, Nancy? You stop working after two wheelbarrows of mulch.” 

But I’ve had thirty-nine years of toil and trouble at my job and loved almost every minute of it. The minute I didn’t enjoy was the first day of the school year because of the myriad of crying kindergarteners. One year, as the children lined up outside in the hallway for dismissal, I escaped into my classroom just before the final bell. The silence was blissful until I heard hiccuping and heaving. I decided to stay put, and it mercifully stopped. 

But because of my sudden guilt, I opened the door and saw the miraculous. I spied a first-grader, bending low and putting his arms around the kindergartener. I heard what he said in a soft voice. “I used to cry every morning when I was a kindergartner, too; it’s gonna be okay.”

That day, my toil turned into awe. I understood how God could turn the hard parts of life and my job into good ones. 

If we look at the context of Ecclesiastes 3, we see that life is a gift from God. Everything God? “Yes,” He whispers, “everything.”

Today, I read this quote from a fellow grandma friend who faces a sad fact: her granddaughter is not yet healed. 

Sharon Sherbondy writes, “But I think there’s something that I’ve overlooked. The beauty of ashes. The stories we tell or show of God’s spirit of hope amid our pain.” 

I think of my life as a triangle, like the instrument we played in kindergarten. God is at the top; going clockwise, I am on the right. On the left are my family and my Christ-following friends. When we strike the triangle, it is a delightful sound that drowns out toil and makes way for beautiful hope.

Just as the little boy in the hall comforted the kindergartener, our community of family and friends is part of our hope on this side of heaven.

Next Steps

Are you in need of wonderful Christian friends and family? Check out all the ways you can connect with people at Willow.  Also, know that God, the apex of our triangle, makes  Everything Beautiful in his time.

Have you started the New Testament reading plan yet? If not, you can find it in the app or on our website. Join in at any time!