Through a glass darkly




1 Corinthians 13:12 - "For now we see only a reflection through a dark glass; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known".


A few years ago, one of my closest friends who is like a brother to me, lost his wife to brain cancer at the age of 45, leaving behind 3 kids under the age of 13. She had also become like a sister to me, and we had known them for a long time. They were from Alabama like me. Our kids grew up together, and we were in a small group together for a while. They had a great marriage.


I was wandering around the house one evening during the final stages of Stacey's life, and I noticed that I could see my reflection in the french doors leading out to the deck outside our family room. If I didn't have a light on at all on the deck, all I could see was myself. If I turned the light on out there, I could see the deck, but I could hardly see myself at all.


The next morning, I checked it out again, but this time it was daylight outside, and all I could see was the beauty of a spring morning in Atlanta. Again, my reflection was hardly visible.


So, I started thinking about 1 Corinthians 13 and how Paul says it's like we're looking in a "mirror" in some translations (NIV for example). That has never made sense to me. I guess if you're looking in a mirror, all you can see is yourself and what's behind you. I get that. But I am not sure they really had mirrors like the ones we have today back then. So, I tend to like the translation that says "through a glass, darkly" (for example, the KJV). There's a whole reason, a whole purpose to our lives behind that glass, but sometimes all we can see is ourselves. But if light is shone behind that same glass, then we see the big picture.


I guess it's kinda like what John the Baptist said about Jesus when he said "He must increase, and I must decrease". (John 3:30). The more we get out of the way, the more God can reveal Himself to us.


But once you get past the glass / mirror analogy, that's when you can unpack the really good stuff. After that it says, "then we shall see face to face". And "now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known" (NIV). We're gonna see the world for what it is. We're gonna see the purpose behind our circumstances. The purpose behind our lives. Why we were put here.


Can you imagine? Face to face with the Creator of the Universe? I've always had a lot of questions. But we won't even have a chance to ask them because all of our doubts will immediately fall away. We will have all the answers, like all at once. Talk about a "light bulb moment"...


The last phrase that had previously always kind of gone over my head was the part about "being fully known". It could mean that we will understand things as clearly as God understands us. I've seen that one before. Not discounting it. But I kinda like to think it was Paul saying "as sure as I'm sittin' here". Paul knew for sure that this was going to happen. For all of us.


Stacey made it almost exactly two years from the time she found out she had cancer. She fought really hard. My buddy Mark fought for her like I've never seen anyone fight in my life. One of these days this will all make sense. But one thing I know for sure is that her courage inspires me today as I fight my own battle with an aggressive type of lymphoma. Her life has inspired so many others. So has her faith.


And she isn't looking "through a glass darkly" anymore. She's face to face. She now knows not just in part, but in full. Sure as I'm sittin' here.

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