“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!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.” ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 (MSG)
We have all been aware of the smoke in the air around us caused by the fires in the western states. Monday, a friend and I went to Ft. Morgan for a meeting. It was a very hazy day so on the way home, we couldn’t see the mountains. Usually, they beckon us to come closer as we travel the prairie; they assure me that I am going in the right direction – toward the mountains – toward home. I love seeing them and when I can’t, I may get disorientated. I don’t know exactly where I am or if I am going the wrong way.
I was reminded of the above scripture from 1 Corinthians (the Love Chapter). The older King James Version, with which I grew up, says in verse 12, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” Life is like this. There are many times that we try to discern what God is doing, especially when it has been difficult, but it’s not to be. What do we do when life keeps piling up on us and we can’t figure out what’s going on?
I am sometimes tempted to, and sometimes actually do, ask the question, “Why?” and “What have I done wrong that God should allow all this difficulty in my life? I know that has nothing to do with it, but…? I think of the story in the book of Job. The book has 42 short chapters, where Job and his friends wrestle with this question. There isn’t a great answer. Read it for yourself, sometime, and see what you think. God knew who Job was – a good and faithful man, and yet bad things happened. Why? I used to think that maybe God wanted Job to know that he was faithful, but I’m starting to believe that God wanted Job to depend upon God alone and not on how good and righteous he was, and maybe because working through this would be transformative for Job. My son posted on Facebook the other day, “I believe that if bad things didn’t happen to good people, we wouldn’t have the positive traits of compassion and empathy.” And then, there’s that.
What have I learned from this so far – all that has been happening in my life this past year? I’m learning that I can’t make it on my own steam. I can’t really figure out the “why?” and I can’t fix or even change most of it. I can only depend on God. I have to do this. There is no real choice. I hang onto the fact that God knows what he’s doing. I may not see where I am or where I’m going but I know and trust the One who leads and holds the way. Romans 8:28 assures me that all things will work out for good for all of us. I just need to stay with this until the fog (or the smoke) clears – and then beyond.
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11