“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:11-13 NASB
When I was young, I thought I knew everything. It all seemed so simple: do this, do that and life goes as expected. In my youth I considered the efforts of the establishment to be completely flawed. In reality, I was looking at the world through childish eyes. As I grew older and had a broader view of the world, I began to see some of the complexity that existed and I began to have a different view of everything. My perspective has changed from one spectating to one performing. The realities of responsibility, ran roughshod over what I thought I knew.
When I entered the faith, everything seemed easy, as well. I looked at all the mature believers who seemed to have it all together. You pray, read your Bible, go to church and all would be fine. I didn’t understand that many of these people had rough journeys to get to the place that I encountered them. Or the forces that went against them.
I had no idea that there was an enemy out there. For me everything was fresh and new. There were few real challenges. Later, I would look back and understand that the Lord had hedged me about. God was protecting me from the evil one. He was giving a chance to grow. Just as Jesus had told Peter:
““Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.””
Luke 22:31-32 NASB
God held back the onslaught of the evil one until I had the maturity to stand, and minister to the others. Little by little, the Lord lifted His fingers, and allowed the refining fires to purify me. I began to see more clearly. I could see myself in the reflection of the mirror, made less dark. The most frightening aspect of all of this was my own sinful state.
Even now, I see in the glass darkly. There is so much to me that I still cannot see. There is also so much of God that I cannot see, cannot comprehend, and cannot bring voice to describe. I learn each day that His ways are not mine.
From my humanity I cannot understand all that God is doing. In my own life, He has refined me in ways what I cannot imagine, but I know that I have had to trust Him over and over. It is in the looking back that I see what Jesus has done. I also see the love that He has poured out on my life.
We are in a time when God is doing a work in the world we live in. He has brought many things into the world to get our attention, to show us that we don’t have all the answers. We have a virus that won’t go away, regardless of how much we pretend that it doesn’t exist. We have racial turmoil, that is shaking the hearts and minds of the world. We pretend that there is no problem, but we are being dragged out of our disbelief by the fires raging around us.
Yet, we continue to think we know best, that we can find fixes that will somehow remediate the effects and return life to our usual state of numbness. I can tell you from personal experience, God is relentless. He is shaking the world out of it’s stupor. We are like a leg that has gone to sleep. We are awakening and the pain is excruciating.
In the heat of the battle, there is little love.
In my own awakening to reality, I have sought the One who sees all. In Him I can see more clearly, far clearer than I can in my flesh. I have learned that God has all the answers, and all the solutions. As I abide in Him, I know that Jesus has given me the things I need to get by: faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is certainly love.
In my love, I see the heart of the other person. I remember a moment a week or so ago, outside of the Governor’s mansion. There was a time when the leader of the protest began to shake hands with the troopers standing guard. At the last encounter, the head trooper on site hugged the protest leader. In that moment, I saw another trooper clad in riot gear, reach under his face guard and wipe a tear. I truly believe it was a tear of relief. It was such a slight thing, barely noticeable, but I saw it.
This time is not about enemies, but about human beings trying to deal with supernatural issues, with natural tools and methods. It cannot be done. It is only the power of God that can bring the change. In bringing this truth to the world, I have felt like a broken record, constantly stuck on one spot: Jesus saves.
Believers, lean on the One who knows all the answers. We can only see part of picture with our fleshly eyes, but our Great God sees it all. We are to abide in Him, and have faith, hope and love by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Faith, hope and love. The greatest thing needed now is love.