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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stone farmhouse in snow
This stately stone farmhouse is south of Mount Joy, Pennsylvania.

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"But We See!"

"Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Small group
We, like most of you, have several mirrors in our home; above our bathroom sinks for grooming purposes and sliding closet doors paneled with mirrors for dressing purposes. But our favorite is a large decorative mirror in our dining room we purchased several years ago in Williamsburg, Virginia. In fact it's included often as a photo backdrop of visiting friends we post here on the site as seen above. Our mirrors are suitable for the purpose we have for them but compared to the most precise mirrors they're pretty rough.

Hubble spacecraft

For instance, the mirrors on the Hubble spacecraft are very smooth and have precisely shaped reflecting surfaces. They were ground so that their surfaces do not deviate from a perfect curve by more than 1/800,000ths of an inch. If Hubble's primary mirror were scaled up to the diameter of the Earth, the biggest bump would be only six inches tall!

Ancient bronze mirror

The mirrors in the ancient world were of polished metal, probably bronze, and quite inferior to our mirrors today. The images ancients saw were unclear where reflections were dark, indistinct, and imperfect.

This too describes the state of our present knowledge of divine things—they're at times imperfect and incomplete. But the time will come when our vision is unimpaired, the veil will be lifted and the obscure made crystal clear.

Does your analytical mirror cast dark, indistinct and imperfect images today?  Those images might be reflections of a troubled relationship, an unsettled church matter, a work-related difficulty, an inner struggle with self or a host of other ongoing yet murky troubles one deals with.

We live about 50 miles from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and periodically visit the famous battlefield from the Civil War. We walked through the cemetery where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg address and saw this simple expression of faith found on the tomb of a chaplain who served in the war:  "We see through a glass darkly… but we see!"
What especially caught my attention was the last phrase written on the chaplain's tombstone,  "But we see!"  What a powerful perspective this chaplain must have exhibited during his lifetime.

The first part of the phrase is surely based upon the daily text of Scripture. "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."  The apostle Paul is candidly writing of the partial understanding we have on this side.  As we walk in faith we may indeed describe it as seeing darkly and knowing only in part. 

This is particularly true when going through a trial, and is keenly felt when other people are undergoing the same trial, yet the murky reflection they see in their mirror may not match yours. 

We see Jesus only partially now through the mirror of His Word, but one day we will see Him with perfect clarity face to face. What a day, glorious day, that will be!

C.H. Spurgeon makes an interesting assertion that we couldn't handle this greater knowledge if revealed on this side of eternity. "If we knew more of our own sinfulness, we might be driven to despair; if we knew more of God's glory, we might die of terror; if we had more understanding, unless we had equivalent capacity to employ it, we might be filled with conceit and tormented with ambition. But up there we shall have our minds and our systems strengthened to receive more, without the damage that would come to us here from overleaping the boundaries of order, supremely appointed and divinely regulated."

There's so much we don't understand, so many things that make no sense to us at all.  Indeed the tunnel may be deep, dark, and long and after the tunnel a storm may prevail. But what a wonderful outlook when we can declare the reality of our walk of faith with the expression "But I see!"  

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, Your Word admonishes us to "Contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints."  There are many obstacles that will lead us astray as we contend for the faith if our eyes become fixed on the obstacles.  Instead we want to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who set His eyes on the throne of God, enabling Him to endure the cross, its shame and agony.  Fix our eyes on the goal of heaven where all will finally be made perfectly clear when we see Jesus face to face.  In the meantime sustain us through Your mercy, grow our faith, and help us to take as many as possible with us to our eternal home in heaven.

Here's where I got the info about the Hubble spacecraft mirrors. Now, when I read something like this I wonder how it compares to a regular mirror, especially using the deviation
from a perfect curve by no more than 1/800,000ths of an inch.  How much does a normal mirror deviate anyway? Or using the analogy of the mirror on the Hubble being scaled  up to the diameter of the Earth, the biggest bump would be only six inches tall. How would this compare to a regular mirror?  Can anyone answer this for a chronically curious guy like me?

Raking snow off roof 2/15/10
In anticipation of additional snow coming through our area yesterday afternoon I tried to rake some more snow off my roof using a long telescopic pole with a rake duct-taped to it. As it turned out we just received a light dusting of new snow.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
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(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"What A Day That Will Be!"  Video

"The Solid Rock"

"Open The Eyes Of My Heart Lord"  Video

"Trust His Heart"  Video

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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