For now we see only a 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
I am a recovering Bible snob. A know-it-all.
Because I grew up in the church and have always been a Bible study enthusiast, I have often opened my Bible with an “I’ve already read this” attitude. No. That’s not right. I supposed you can both grow up in church and be committed to Bible study without being a “snob”.
Let me try again.
Because of pride, I have often opened by Bible with an “I’ve already read/learned/studied this” attitude.
But an interesting thing has happened as I’ve gotten older and continued in my pursuit of the Word.
I’ve realized that the more I study – the more I press into the pages of this God-breathed Truth – the more I dig in – the less I really know.
God has used the profundity of the holy script to humble me.
When I read verses like 1 Corinthians 13:12, I am reminded of why. Look at the verse again, from The Message this time:
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! I Corinthians 13:12 MSG
Right now we can only know in part. Our understanding of God, His will, His ways – our understanding of the church – our understanding of ourselves – it’s all hazy.
When the verse says, “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror”, it helps to understand that mirrors back then weren’t the same as mirrors today. Mirrors of the ancient times were made of brushed, imperfect brass or other metals. The image was visible but blurry. It was a poor reflection.
To me, this blurry view is now part of the beauty of reading my Bible. It’s like I’m reading through a prism. I see and understand the text from a different angle and with deeper understanding every time.
We know only in part. Beloved, the objects we look at are distant, and we are near-sighted. The revelation of God is ample and profound, but our understanding is weak and shallow.”
So what? Here are my take-homes from this verse:
It’s reassuring to me that I don’t have to have it all figured out. Actually, I can’t. So instead, I can learn to sit with Jesus in my questions. He will meet me there. Yes, I can study and dig. But I can also rest and trust that answers and understanding will come in time. As He and I walk together.
Isn’t it amazing that we can see at all. Instead of struggling in the things I am yet to see, I can be so very thankful to see at all. This seeing is a gift.
We’re all on a journey of our own, and understanding comes to each of us differently, for different purposes. I am challenged to let go of my need to be right in order to continue to learn and grow. I have so much to learn.
Just because I can’t see it all in clarity doesn’t mean I should stop seeking all together. I want to be a life-long learner. A Word dweller for all my days. So I will keep asking the Lord to make me smarter. I will ask Him to open my eyes and open my mind. I will ask for understanding and insight that is beyond me. I believe He delights in answering these requests.
I realize that everything I see now is only a part of the bigger picture. But one day – one glorious day – I will see it all clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I am fully known. Blessed be that day!
Father, thank you for the gift of your Word. Continue to use it to cut away pride, strip away my flesh and make me more like you. Open my eyes that I may see the wonderful truths in your Word. Help me understand your ways so that I may walk in them. But over clarity – over knowing – over being right, Lord, I choose companionship. May I go to the Word seeking your presence more than your answers. Meet with me there, Jesus, Living Word of God. I want to know you more.
Has your attitude ever resembled mine – pridefully thinking you know it all? Or are you on the other side of the spectrum – intimated and unsure if you can really understand it at all? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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