Hovering over 1Corinthians 13 this morning. And experiencing a myriad of mixed emotions.
Initially, there’s a warm and fuzzy feeling of processing again those “love” verses (1Cor. 13:4-8a) as the aspiration of so many newlyweds at the altar. But stare into the mirror of those verses for but a few minutes longer and don’t be surprised if there emerges the ugly reflection of knowing how often and how short you’ve fallen from living out this kind of love. And then the dread of connecting that failure to the prophesied futility of speaking eloquently and heavenly, yet sounding just like a noisy gong and a clanging cymbal. Of having faith to move mountains yet it being counted as nothing. Of possessing all things and yet, in the end, of having nothing. Heavy sigh!
But blessed are the poor in spirit, for they will see the kingdom. Blessed are those who thirst in the arid land of their recognized sin, for they will receive living water flowing from Calvary’s cross. Blessed are those who continue to stare into those verses and see them fade as a reflection of self and give way to the light of One who is Savior. The One who perfectly embodies the love that never ends. The One who gave Himself out of such love. The One who has forever connected Himself with us in accordance with such love. The One who lives now in us and through us, patiently making more perfect that love in us, as He increases, and we decrease.
And I remember again hearing for the first time those love verses read in a way I had never heard them read as Mr. Schoberg opened his bible at the Lord’s Supper one Sunday morning . . .
Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind. Jesus does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Jesus finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. He bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Jesus never ends.
And chewing on this first part of the chapter readies me for something in the latter part.
Have had now a couple of conversations over the last week on making sense of how hard life is. Of struggling with the sovereignty and engagement of God in light of the suffering and injustice around us. And this pops from the page this morning:
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, as I am fully known.
(1Corinthians 13:12 CSB)
Now I know in part. I’m tempted to want to judge God as to how well He’s deploying His sovereignty, but fact of the matter is, now I know in part. I don’t have any idea of how much I don’t know what I don’t know. And yet, just like my parents in the garden, I think I can eat some fruit and be like God, knowing what He knows, thus qualified to second guess what He does.
There will be a day when I fully know, but today’s not that day. The fact of the matter is, at best I see in a mirror dimly (NKVJ) — literally, I see obscurely, encountering frequently enigmas and riddles. At best I know in part. That’s it.
But in that part I know, I know Jesus. And Jesus is patient. And Jesus is kind. And Jesus in me will enable me to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and even endure all things. ‘Cause Jesus never ends. I may know in part, but part of what I know is that Jesus never fails (NKJV).
Yes, Jesus loves me. THIS I KNOW. For the bible tells me so.
By His grace. For His glory.