Summary: Everyone searches for answers to life’s WHY? qustions. This message is an attempt to shed some light on what are known as The Mysteries of Life.
Charles W. Holt
Community of Grace
An Assemblies of God Fellowship
NOW WE SEE THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY
"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 Cor. 13:12 (KJV)
Let’s focus on the first eight words of this Scripture: FOR NOW WE SEE THROUGH A GLASS, DARKLY.
To better understand what the Apostle is saying let’s read these words as:
· “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror” (NIV);
· “For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as [a]in a riddle or enigma]” (Amplified Bible);
· “Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity” (NLT);
· We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. (The Message)
When our natural eyes create a blurred image of whatever we are looking at it is called astigmatism. The word didn’t exist in Paul’s time but this is what he is describing when it comes to trying to understand or make sense of life’s circumstances. We suffer from mental astigmatism—our mental vision of what happens in our lives is often blurred.
I want to talk about our blurred vision. I want to point out some of the high and low points in our perception of the reality that we do not always understand. We know we are unable to explain with any degree of certainty why things happen when they happen or why they happen at all.
In other words, I want to talk about something that is obvious to everyone: LIFE IS A MYSTERY. We see it “through a glass darkly.”
The Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes is a kind of Reader’s Digest version on the many questions, even problems, which compose what we sometime choose to refer to as the mysteries of life. It focuses on what we know are life’s many riddles or puzzles which confront us as we go through life. I’m talking about the riddles and puzzles that give rise to the “why” questions. Why did this happen to me? Why is this happening to me now?
Solomon, known as the wisest man who ever lived, is the author of Ecclesiastes. This lends an awful lot of credibility to what we find in his writing. Again, following our Reader’s Digest analogy, we draw one inescapable conclusion from him about life. He makes it clear, “that we are to take life as it comes and not try to understand everything about it” (From a sermon by Ray Stedman). In other words, it is an exercise in futility when we try to find a solution to all our problems or try to find an answer for every question life throws at us.
Easy to say…. harder to do. We want answers. We want solutions. We want reasons. We want satisfactory explanations. And there is nothing wrong about asking questions, examining the evidence and trying to make sense of a difficult or perplexing problem. It’s a normal response.
An example of Solomon’s wise advice in found in Ecclesiastes 8:16,17 where we read: When I applied mine heart to know wisdom, and to see the business that is done upon the earth: (for also there is that neither day nor night seeth sleep with his eyes) then I beheld all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun: because though a man labour to seek it out, yet he shall not find it; yea farther; though a wise man think to know it, yet shall he not be able to find it.
Listen to these verses as told in THE MESSAGE by Eugene Peterson:
Ecclesiastes 8:16-17--When I determined to load up on wisdom and examine everything taking place on earth, I realized that if you keep your eyes open day and night without even blinking, you’ll still never figure out the meaning of what God is doing on this earth. Search as hard as you like, you’re not going to make sense of it. No matter how smart you are, you won’t get to the bottom of it.
Here is the Apostle Paul’s insight on this. He says, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!” (Rom. 11:33 KJV).
The New Living Translation reads: (vs.33) Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!
But, here’s the clincher: It is found in Ecclesiastes 9, verse 1: “For all this I considered in my heart even to declare all this, that the righteous, and the wise, and their works, are in the hand of God: no man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them.”