Take a couple minutes to watch this clip. It’s from the 1999 movie She’s All That, starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Rachel Leigh Cook.
It may not be your Oscar-caliber film, but this one scene has stuck with me. For one, I loved playing hacky sack in high school. (Still do, actually. Whenever I’m at a youth event and see a group of guys circle up, I like to join in and be that cool “old” guy who can still pull off all the tricks.) I also like that scene because of the message. “Eventually, it has to drop.”
Why do bad things happen? Because eventually, it has to drop. This isn’t heaven yet. No matter how good we are at managing this hevel life, eventually the mist, the breath, the wind escapes our grasp.
Read what Qohelet has to tell us at the end of Ecclesiastes:
Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—
before the sun and the light
and the moon and the stars grow dark,
and the clouds return after the rain;
when the keepers of the house tremble,
and the strong men stoop,
when the grinders cease because they are few,
and those looking through the windows grow dim;
when the doors to the street are closed
and the sound of grinding fades;
when people rise up at the sound of birds,
but all their songs grow faint;
when people are afraid of heights
and of dangers in the streets;
when the almond tree blossoms
and the grasshopper drags itself along
and desire no longer is stirred.
Then people go to their eternal home
and mourners go about the streets.
Remember him—before the silver cord is severed,
and the golden bowl is broken;
before the pitcher is shattered at the spring,
and the wheel broken at the well,
and the dust returns to the ground it came from,
and the spirit returns to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7)
Eventually, it has to drop. He paints a very gloom picture of what it looks like when, not if, it happens. The sun grows dim. The thriving city becomes a ghost town. Hope is lost. The streets are empty. People are growing old and senile. This sounds very much like a description of any of dozens of movies set in post-apocalyptic worlds. Think The Road or The Book of Eli.
Society is crumbling. The economy is crashing. The landscape is shifting. Creation itself if beginning to fall apart at the seams. Remember God before these things come.
Remember Him before you kick the bucket. Before you shuffle off this mortal coil. Before you push up daisies. Before (insert death euphemism here). Because eventually, it has to drop.
I find it fascinating that throughout most of the book, death is seen as an enemy, something to be feared, something to be avoided at all costs. Death sucks the meaning out of life. Death is what makes all of our pursuits vain and futile. Death is what laughs in the face of wisdom. Death is the character in the movie that you love to hate.
But not here. Not at the end. Qohelet has come to accept the reality of death. It’s no longer something to be avoided. Rather, it becomes the end of this hevel life and the beginning of life with God. Dust returns to dust, but the spirit returns to God. So remember Him.
Apart from God there is no way to come to grips with death. Without God, then life is indeed hopeless, meaningless, futile, vain, etc. Money, sex, power, followers, parties, and success – these things become our gods. But as we see in the verses above, money, power, pleasures, and even sex will not last forever. So what are you gonna do about it?
Because eventually, it has to drop.
What this tells me is that if I am one of God’s people, one of His children, then I don’t have to be afraid of death. If I belong to the giver of life, then what can death do to me? If I am devoted to the Creator of the universe, then when creation begins to deteriorate, I know who’s in charge.
Remember Him now.
Because eventually, it has to drop.