Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)
Read: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
Consider: To us today the verse above from 1 Corinthians 13 can seem strange. When we look in a mirror we see a perfect reflection because of the technique of silvering glass. In ancient times mirrors were made from polished obsidian and later were made from polished discs of bronze, copper or other metals. While these gave a useful reflection, they were indeed a ‘… poor reflection …’
The Apostle Paul, the writer of 1 Corinthians, uses the words ‘mirror’ and ‘face to face’ as a contrast to get us to think about the enormous difference between the two. He goes on to say ‘Now I know in part; then I shall know fully …’ (1 Corinthians 13:12). While we live on earth our understanding can only be partial. Only when we go to be with Christ will we understand the full meaning and appreciate the significance of many of the things that have happened to us on earth.
Paul does not stop there. He goes on to say that we will fully know: ‘… even as I am fully known’. Can you imagine how well God knows everything about you? The Bible teaches us that God knows us inside out, in fact he has known us even before we were conceived. God said to the prophet Jeremiah: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5). This is as true for us today as it was for Jeremiah in his day.
God’s love for us puts his knowledge of us into perspective. Despite knowing us intimately and despite our sinfulness he does not reject us, but instead he is moved by his overwhelming love for us to create a path back to him – this has been achieved by Jesus’ death on the cross to pay the price for our sins.. As the Apostle John says: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins (1 John 4:10).
In the knowledge that everything will eventually become clearer to us, we should perhaps be less concerned about asking God why things happen to us. God may give us a glimpse into his purposes now (a poor reflection), but we will understand his purposes more fully when we are with God in eternity. Perhaps when we are with God the ‘why’ questions we have will become less important to us, as we enjoy being in his presence and worship him.
Then a voice came from the throne, saying: ‘Praise our God, all you his servants, you who fear him, both great and small!’ Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: ‘Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’ (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people) (Revelation 19:5-8).
Pray: Father, give us a contentment and peace that does not always need to fully understand your purposes in the world. We know that your ways are far above our ways and your thoughts above our thoughts. We look forward to when we no longer need to know ‘why’, but are content to be with you and enjoy worshipping you. Amen
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