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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

face to face

It was the first spring in our new house.  It was the first time I had a yard.  I knew, when we moved in a few months before, that blooms were somewhere dormant in the winter ground, but I had no idea how many bright surprises were waiting on us that spring. 

One day, as I sat on the couch folding laundry, I looked out the window to find the most vivid pink flowers.   So enamored that something beautiful might actually be in my yard, I didn't notice the filth on the window, only the vibrant color lining the yard.

My eyes shifted after a few seconds, and I saw nothing but the dirty window.  I soon forgot about the trees as my mind began to wonder why those windows were so dirty. Traveling...busyness...my young children...there were many excuses but I was still embarrassed at the sight of them. Trying to look through that filth, I looked once again at the trees.

Words that I had read earlier in the week quickly came to mind, In the same way, we can see and understand only a little about God now as if we were peering at His reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see Him in His completeness, face to face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now.     1 Corinthians 13:12.

A poor mirror.  When I look at God it is as if I am looking at His reflection in a dirty, defective mirror. The knowledge of Him, whether surface or intimate, is only a glimpse of who He is--only what He's revealed to me.  Even when I've experienced Him in a way that I feel my heart might explode, it's an exponentially small amount compared to his greatness.  My view is limited because I am limited. 

Imagine an ant on the shore of the ocean.  He stands in awe of what he sees and what he can experience and yet the massiveness of the ocean is barely comprehended by our little friend.  He is overwhelmed even by his small view.

What we know of God's love and grace and holiness is like a small puddle while His full character is more grand than all of the seas.  He not only loves me, He loves me with His unrelenting love; He not only gives me grace, He gives scandalous amounts of grace; He is not only holy, His holiness is so beautiful that it would strike me blind if I saw its fullness.   He is more loving, more grace-giving, more holy--He is immeasurably more.

My spiritual vision can be hazy because I am looking through my flesh--through my sin and brokenness.  And while God has redeemed me, His restoration will only be complete when I am physically in His presence.  So until then, He allows me to know Him through Christ, to understand Him, but with a limited understanding.

There are times when I shift my focus and only see the dirt.  I see my own sinfulness more than I see Him.  I might begin to lose sight of Him altogether, and my weakness and brokenness appears larger than life.

The challenge is to look at Him even if it is in a poor mirror or through a dirty window--to trust that the One I'm looking at is the same One who is cleaning away the dirt so that I might see Him more.

When God looks at me, is it through that same poor, hazy glass? The blood of Christ shed for me declares a loud, No.  He sees me clearly and completely.  He knows me, small finite thing that I am, and loves me.

One more thought that I can barely contain--a day is coming when I will see God just as clearly as He sees me. I will know Him as intricately and intimately as He knows me--every detail, every thought, every motive, every intention.  No more questioning.  No more seeing glimpses of who He is. I will see Him in His completeness, face to face.

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