Que, Sera, Sera
That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
Solomon shrewdly observed the way life works, and he never sugarcoated reality. In this verse, Solomon seems to be saying that we have to accept things the way they are because few things ever change, but he’s also acknowledging the value of constancy in our universe and in our daily lives.
We take many things for granted because they’ve been consistent for so long. The rhythm of days, weeks, seasons, and years never changes. Up is always up, and down is always down. Consistency can be really boring, if we’re talking about our daily routines, but constancy in the physical works is a wonderful(if often overlooked) gift from God! And in our advanced culture today, we enjoy even more constancy because most of us don’t have to worry about the weather to see if our crops will grow so we can eat. Certainly, we experience variations in things like our choice of foods and risks like new relationships and business decisions, but in many respects, we live in a remarkably stable environment.
God gives us our surprisingly constant world so that we don’t have to spend our energies on survival. We can devote our creativity to things that will make a difference: caring for people and taking risks to accomplish great things for God.
One cure for boredom is to forget yourself through activities which bring you in touch with people and ideas outside yourself.
No matter how hard humans may try, there are unchangeable things. In our ever changing world, there are comforting constant things. As long as time is, the earth will still stay in orbit around the sun, gravity will still hold things in place on the earth, and each day will consist of 24 hours and each week will have 7 days. More importantly, God never changes. His love for us remains the same. The plan of redemption through Jesus Christ remains the same. The Ten Commandments have not been modified or changed. What contributes to righteousness as well as what is sin remains constant. Many attempts have been made throughout time to rewrite God’s laws and yet somehow they always resurface. We can find hope in constancy. Scripture says that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. To Moses God introduced Himself as I Am, presence tense. He didn’t introduce Himself as I Was or I Will Be but I Am. Since God has always been the same and will always remain the same, we can know that what He did in the past we can expect Him to do in the present and we can trust Him to continue the same actions in the future.
A lot of people are nervous about the church changing from some of its methods, not realizing that somewhere in its past, what now is tradition was change. What can give us peace in change is to remember that the church is connected to the unchangeable God. Let me illustrate. Most of us take for granted current methods of transportation but not much more than a century ago, the methods of transportation were quite different. What remains the same is our need to get to our destination. We can now travel in hours what used to take weeks. The yellow cabs in New York used to be horse and carriages. Transatlantic travel was by ship that took days and weeks. The point is that the vehicles used to get us to our destination have changed but our destiny remains the same. We can choose to drive to California or we can fly. Either method will get us there so there’s no need to argue about the method of travel.
Often we become more focused on the methods and not the destination.
Since God remains the same and salvation still comes through Christ that remains the constant. But how we reach people with the gospel is subject to change. An airplane is designed to give it lift and to a point defy gravity, but it has far less power to defy gravity than a rocket which is designed to travel outside the gravitational pull of earth. There is still the mandate to preach the gospel but how it’s message is distributed constantly changes. From in person, traveling by camels and boats to carry the message to the world, we now have access through incredible technology that can touch thousands in a second.
Solomon provides us some wisdom. When it comes to challenges, he reminds us that none of them are new. Previous generations have faced the same challenges as we face today. Church history is filled with those who insist that the church “keep the old ways intact” and those who insist that God is working through other means. Imagine how some in the early church must have struggled when Gentiles were invited to become members. Even Peter, whom God used to carry the gospel to the first Gentile converts, wanted things to go back to the old way.
So how do we find a balance? Solomon provides the answer. First, he says that what has been will continue to be. The church of Jesus Christ will continue to be His church and His children will continue to be His children. Heaven will still be heaven and those who die in Christ will still go there. We can be thankful for the consistent unchanging truths. Then Solomon says, “that which is done will be done.” The Bible continues to be relevant because human nature remains constant. Oh, we may discover new technology and social media may get the word out sooner but human conduct hasn’t changed dramatically since the Fall. When my children were growing up, they thought they had come up with new ways to deceive their parents. Were they surprised when they were caught. I would tell them that I thought the same thing with my parents but parents have been children themselves at some point.
The glorious news is that since there’s nothing new under the sun, every sin anyone can imagine has already been done and when Christ died on the cross He died for every sin. We may be surprised at some new form of evil but let us remember that the power of the blood of Jesus is a constant and no matter how appalled we are, God still has the answer- Calvary.
While I recognize change and our need to consider change, I am grateful for the unchanging Savior and Lord.
Dr. John Thompson