Seeing in the Dark
I will admit that I used to be afraid of the dark. I wasn’t afraid in my room under the covers with the lights out but I was often spooked in a dark hall or walking home from a babysitting job late; it was really a combination of the eerie quiet, reading too many Nancy Drew mysteries and shadows.
Eyes need light to see and yet, there is an ability to see in almost complete darkness. This is because our eyes are an amazing gift of God. The pupils work like a camera in letting in more light or blocking light as an aperture opening. We also have rods and cones in our eyes. The cones show fine details and color, while the rods see black and white and are sensitive even in low light. Rods are the reason we can see better at night as they adapt to the darkness and help the eyes adjust to night vision. It takes longer to see in the dark and only seconds to disturb its preservation but it is an amazing feature of human sight. Once we are accustomed to the dark we can see pretty good, but certainly not as well as in broad daylight!
1 Cor. 13:12 says, “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.” Similarly, to see “through a glass”- “a mirror darkly” is to have an obscure or imperfect vision of reality. The expression comes from Paul where he explains that though we do not now see clearly, at the end of time we will.
Often we think we see the whole picture but we really don’t – we are “in the dark”! We see things imperfectly, a blurred reflection of reality. In other words, life is a mystery! Who is to say how a thing will ultimately turn out, and what effect, through the grace of God, even terrible events can have upon the future? We don’t know how things will turn out and yet we are to take life as it comes and we won’t understand everything about it. It is a waste of time and energy to try to find answers to every question or problem life throws at us.
So, today is Jim’s 65th birthday. I don’t see the reasons that God called him home when he did. There is no way I will ever understand why he got cancer or why my kids have to live everyday without their dad. Sometimes I wish I had answers, explanations, reasons. I want to know why. And one day I will see it all clearly.
Imagine what would have happened if Joseph had been pulled from the pit or from prison? Or, what if Esther had not been made queen? I probably would have questioned God’s hand in these issues if I had been alive then. And yet, God’s plan is so much bigger than my perspective. I see it all through the fog darkly. I know I’m unable to explain with any degree of certainty why things happen when they happen or why they happen at all.
The jobs lost. The life cut short by cancer. The brilliant mind reduced to dementia. The friends who were fair weather. Life takes a different set of turns from what we plan or expect. But who is to say that the life I did not live would have been better than the life I am living? What I am learning is that God is at work in my life providentially for my good and His glory. This means I can relax and enjoy the journey. I can let go of those things over which I have no control (which is pretty much everything). God is not the author of evil, illness, or misfortune; rather, out of bad things good can come. Even the darkness of death is part of God’s grace and redemption. Just look at the death and resurrection of Jesus!
Instead of short sighted decisions that I would choose… I will trust that God’s decision to move Jim to the light of His glory is the best one. And as I sit trying to see through a glass darkly I will trust . I will keep hoping. I will let God lead me and I will let my eyes grow accustomed to the dark until I see Him clearly face to face.
Read the words that were found on a piece of paper in the pocket of a Confederate soldier at the end of the Civil War:
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve; I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey. I asked for health, that I might do greater things; I was given infirmity, that I might do better things. I asked for riches, that I might be happy; I was given poverty, that I might be wise. I asked for power, that I might have praise; I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God. I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life; I was given life that I might enjoy all things. I got nothing that I asked for — but everything that I had hoped for.”
What an amazing thing: the things I do not know.
And Happy Birthday to my “old man”. Can you say medicare?!