“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” (1 Corinthians 13:12).
The last thing I do, before I go through the door, is to look in the mirror. Yet occasionally I miss something, because I am seeing through mirrors that reflect imperfectly. It’s better if I ask my wife to just “look me over”. Life’s like that—we are constantly making judgments and interpretations from an imperfect background marred by sin and shame. Thus, our knowledge is incomplete and foggy. This was Paul’s message to the Corinthians, who were filled with the gifts of the Spirit (except for charity), and whose houses had large reflective mirrors. The glass was blurred and dark, not telescopically, but through reflection.
But—but—but—I like that conjunction, joining two thoughts. The word “but” suggests a departure into a different direction, from my previous thought, to a new thought that is better than the present. Whereas “and” suggests some type of equal parallelism, the word “but” gives me hope. Even though life is imperfect and I don’t understand everything, a better day is coming. The mirror will be moved away and I will see and perceive clearly, with perfect knowledge.
This scriptural passage has helped me tremendously to craft my thinking into a visioning mode. When I see a student or employee, I first cast him/her into the future to determine how to plan in the present. I see that person as he/she might become, and that vision brings me the hope of the present. I start with the future, with the goal and the end in the mind, and work backwards to the present reality. It is the future that gives meaning to the present; it is the future that permits me to cast a vision. It is only when we glimpse the future and potential in others, that we can have hope in the present, and it is this endearing hope that drives. “We have this hope that burns within our hearts, hope in the coming of the Lord.”
Therefore, I beckon you today to hope, to cast a vision. Look not into the mirrors of the present, but to the vision of the hereafter. Sweat not the small stuff around your feet, but look up, press on the upper way, and gain new heights every day. “Lord, lift me up and let me stand, by faith on heaven’s tableland”. I may be down, BUT I am not out; I may be poor, BUT my Father is rich in houses and lands; I may have a mortgage on earth, BUT I’ve got a mansion in heaven. Somebody say “hallelujah, thank you Jesus”. No more mirrors. We Have This Hope.