Opening up 1Corinthians 13 usually evokes two streams of consciousness. The first encompasses Paul’s inspired definition of love, and thus of the Savior. For if love is patient, kind, without envy nor boast, and not arrogant or rude. If it is not self-serving, nor irritable or resentful. If it shuns wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth, bearing all things, believing all things, hoping all things, enduring all things. Then, if God is love (and He is, 1Jn. 4:8) , and if Jesus is God (and He is, Jn. 10:30), then Jesus is the embodiment of the greatest of all virtues, love. And there is enough in that alone to feed one’s soul.
The other area of awe and wonder that is evoked from reading this portion of Scripture comes from trying to fathom what it will be to see “face to face.” The reminder that, though we were once blind but now we see, we still only see in a mirror dimly. “We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist” (MSG). But a day is coming when the fog of faith will clear and we will be in His presence, and then we will see more clearly than we ever could have imagined. Meal number two served up.
But this morning, something else grabbed me as I hovered over 1Corinthians 13. Not necessarily a new thought, but one that’s been brought to mind from a new place. The reminder that I am fully known.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
(1Corinthians 13:12 ESV)
Whatever I imagine it to be when I see Him face to face and to “know fully”, that is how He knows me, even now. Though I wait for the day when faith will give way to sight, when my somewhat cloudy mirror will become a clear and transparent glass, the Father sees me today with perfect 20/20 vision. His Son, the Great Shepherd, knows this sheep, fully and perfectly, nothing hidden.
Fully known. Thoroughly acquainted with. Accurately aware.
As I head into this day, I’m reminded that He is aware of my thoughts and feelings, of my triumphs and failures, of my tendencies toward temptation and my desire to be faithful. As I have thought before, while it can be somewhat intimidating to consider that I am fully known by a Holy, Holy, Holy God, there is also something incredibly comforting, and even empowering, that comes from the fresh realization that I am fully known by a Good, Good Father.
He fully knows all our anxieties, and still calls us to cast them upon Him (1Pet. 5:7). It’s with full awareness of our weariness and burdens (both external and self-imposed) that He continues to invite us to come to Him and find rest for our soul (Matt. 11:28-29). Thoroughly acquainted with every thorn in the flesh, He assures us, “My grace is sufficient. See My power made perfect in your weakness” (2Cor. 12:9).
While we now see in a mirror dimly, He doesn’t. Though we wait for face-to-face, He knows us through-and-through. Whatever we can imagine it is to “fully know”, even now, we are fully known.
O LORD, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar . . . and are acquainted with all my ways. . . . Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. . . . How precious to me are Your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
(Psalm 139:1-3, 6, 17 ESV)
Then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
Because of grace. For His glory.