"Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely."
I Corinthians 13:12 (NLT)
I have a mirror hanging on my living room wall that I absolutely love. Its design and look are totally "me." I have rarely purchased anything that continues to make me sigh with contentment every time I see it. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I know that it is possible, though I can hardly believe it, that my mirror might fail to cause such satisfaction in someone else. Every time I come down my stairway and turn the corner on the landing, my eye catches the reflection of the mirror.
Not too many days ago, one of my daughters asked me a question that I believe every human being struggles with. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why does God allow suffering? She is still young enough to think I actually have answers to most questions she might ask (she is about to be horribly disappointed about how much I do NOT know). Until now, most of her questions have been relatively easy to answer. But not that one. I wonder if anyone who has been in the valley ever truly enjoys or understands being there. I know I sure haven't.
When she asked me that question, I immediately thought of my living room mirror. How could my mirror have any possible connection to trying to answer my daughter's question about why God allows suffering? Without the insight of the Word of God, absolutely nothing. But God is the Revealer of incredible secrets when we believe His Word is the truth.
I am not that smart, but God's Word became my wisdom in my answer to my daughter. I took her by the hand and led her into the living room. I pointed at the mirror on the wall as we sat down on the couch. I told her to look at the mirror.
"What do you see in the mirror, honey?" I asked.
"The ceiling and the top of the doorway and a little of the foyer," she replied.
"How silly would it sound if mommy told you that the only things that were truly real in this world were those things you could see in that mirror? What if I told you to believe me that the rest of our house, including your bedroom [which is plastered with horse paraphernalia], wasn't real? And your toys weren't real or our backyard? " I went on.
She looked at me with a puzzled look on her face.
"Of course my room is real and my toys," she argued.
"But you can't see them in the mirror, honey."
"Mommy, are you trying to trick me? You are being so silly!" she said.
"You are a very smart girl. That would be so silly of me to try to convince you that only what you can see in the mirror in our living room is real. And, honey, that is what Satan tries to do with us. He tells us when life becomes very hard that what we are experiencing is the only thing that is real. But we know from God's Word that the life we see with our eyes is like looking in a mirror. We can't see the rest of the house. But God can. One day, sweetie, when we are with Jesus, the mirror is going to crack. We will be able to see everything we could not see with our earthly eyes. We will see what Jesus was doing in the areas that we were blind to. When we suffer and bad things happen to us, we have to remember we are just seeing a tiny, tiny portion of our lives. God sees it all and He knows what is best for us."
My sweet sister, why is being in God's Word so incredibly important? Because I can so easily believe that only that which my earthly eyes can see is real. I can believe the lies the enemy of my soul tells me. I must let His healing, cleansing wisdom give me insight that I just do not have. There are days when I have to make a deliberate decision to remember that what I see is only a minute fraction of what can be seen in this mirror called life on planet earth. I see the ceiling of the room, not even the whole room. He sees the whole house, the whole world, and all the galaxies beyond that.
One incredible day this mirror of life is going to be cracked. The blurred, dark lines will become crystal clear. I will stand in awe over the amazingly complicated, good plan that my Jesus had for me here on earth. My job is not to have all the answers. My job is to lean on the hope that the cracking of the mirror will one day lead to the answers I so desperately long to have now. Until then, I must continue to live not by sight, for that is temporal, but by faith--the stone that will one day shatter the mirror.
Jesus, somedays the only way I make it through with joy--not necessarily with happiness--is the fact that this life is just a shadow of what is really real. You are going to break that glass one day. In the meantime, give me eyes of faith to welcome at a distance what You have promised me, even if its fulfillment is not in this lifetime.