I decided about a year ago that it was time to read the Bible again from start to finish. I didn't set a goal for when to complete that, but pick away at it a little bit every day. So yesterday I had reached Ecclesiastes, which opens up with "Vanity of vanities." In God's perfect sense of humor, I also bought paint to begin refurbishing the schoolroom, which will now be dubbed "the library".
As I began the process of washing, patching and prepping walls, recollections flooded me of other rooms I have worked as hard on, and now need to be painted all over again. The freshness of a new coat of paint is so fleeting. The last room I painted had a fist-sized hole in the wall before a month had passed. To be trite, painting is an exercise in futility.
And yet I will continue to paint rooms. Ecclesiastes is a reminder that all we do will pass away, and yet we are not supposed to just succumb to hopelessness. Old Testament preaching is a foretaste of New Testament revival. My hope is not here on earth, and thank God, my deepest desires are not for beautiful rooms. I will enjoy the new paint job while it lasts, but not cling to the hope that it will last forever.