“ For now we see in a mirror dimly”–1 Corinthians 13:12
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
One of the most unnerving experiences I’ve had more than once involves flying on a commercial airliner. I’m generally a calm flyer, but I experience a good bit of anxiety whenever a landing is executed in thick, cloudy conditions when visibility is at a minimum. I really like to keep my eyes on the ground as we descend. And when this is impossible, due to the low cloud deck, my heart tends to race and my grip on the armrest tightens considerably. On such occasions, the plane seems to emerge out of the darkness just a mere inches above the runway.
In analyzing this fear, I would say that my problem is that I can’t see what’s coming and when its coming. And you can tell me all about the high tech gizmos on that plane that make such landings a routine piece of cake for the pilot, but it is of little consolation to me.I really want to see what’s happening all the way to the safety and security of the ground!
This makes me think of Paul’s words to the Corinthians. And in that magnificent thirteenth chapter of his first letter, he seems to say this very thing about following Jesus our Lord.
According to the Apostle, our experience “ now,” today, is that we only “ see” a little of what’s ahead for us. He likens it to looking at an image in a “ mirror” in very dim light. We can see a little bit, but not everything. We want to see more, but we are prevented from doing so because there are many things ahead that are not intended for our examination, just yet. And this makes us uneasy!
Now, to be fair to the context, what Paul seems to be saying here is that there are many wonderful, yet unseen, things ahead for all those who are in Christ. And for now, we are only able to manage a small glimpse of the blessings and glories that await us in heaven. But it is also true that we cannot see what’s ahead in this life as we make our way to the heavenly city. The details of what shall happen today, and each day thereafter, are not accessible to us. We have to sit calmly in our seats, so to speak, as our Divine Pilot safely guides us to our eternal destination.
We might also link this very thought to what our Lord Jesus taught us in the Sermon on the Mount. As recorded in Matthew 6:34, Jesus declared, “ Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Here our Savior seems to be saying, ‘Trust Me! I am guiding your life! I know what I’m doing. Keep your focus upon today, don’t worry at all about what’s ahead, and be faithful to Me and My Kingdom.’
To be frank with you, as I look out across our nation and our world, I feel as if I’m in that jet airliner, making a descent into the thickest fog I’ve ever seen. My heart, perhaps like yours, is very troubled. And I am especially anxious over the prospect of what might happen next. I would feel so much more secure if I could just see what is coming. Will hatred, division, and chaos rule? Will there be greater conflict in our land, racial strife, sectarian violence, or even anarchy? Will the foundations of our freedoms finally collapse? Will we who love our Lord be persecuted for our allegiance to Him? Will some turn away from Christ and His Church?
Well, what I am learning, albeit slowly, is that the answers to these questions are not for me to know. I am not permitted to see all that I want to see. I can see a little bit, but not everything. And if I am to find comfort and consolation, I need to trust my Sovereign Lord who is fully in command.
The fact is, what I do see now is not always the truth anyway. From where I sit, I see only dark ominous clouds. I see disaster on the horizon. But this is not what our Pilot sees! He sees what’s really ahead with crystal clarity! And He does so not only because of His divine omniscience, but because He has ordained all that shall come to pass, and has lovingly designed every bit of it for our good and His glory! And despite the turbulence we will experience as we make our way home, He has guaranteed that our landing will be a safe one! He will not lose even one of those whom He has eternally loved and redeemed with His own blood!
So, let us be content with what we know and don’t know. Let us trust our Father for today, and then rest in the assurance that He has good plans for us tomorrow, and every day until we see Him face-to-face. Our peace does not depend upon our vision, but upon His! Praise His name!
I love you all so very much, and my prayer for you all is that this week will be one filled with joy, peace, and encouragement!