For now we see through a glass, darkly; (1 Corinthians 13:12a KJV)
In Girls Auxiliary at Immanuel Baptist Church, I memorized 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:13. A couple of years before that, I got my first pair of glasses. I wore glasses for over 50 years, then had surgery, replacing my cataract covered lens in both eyes. For a rather large additional amount (large in proportion to our budget), I could have lens that had both near and far vision. At the Medicare covered rate, I could choose near or far.
Either one of those meant glasses for the other – so I chose “far,” with the idea that when I read, I would need glasses. That wasn’t the case.
When cutting vegetables on the kitchen counter – I needed glasses. When I combed my hair, glasses were helpful. I also found that I heard a bit better wearing glasses. Old, engrained, habits were hard to change. After a couple of years of laying glasses down and losing them, or wearing on a chain so I wouldn’t, I returned to bifocals, wear them all the time and feel much better.
This verse remained with me much longer than any set of glasses. And, eyeglasses are not Paul’s subject – just mine. What I see is impacted by the eyeglasses I use. When we look at God’s word, at the history written about Him and the events that show His specific interest, we do not see them clearly. They are third hand information, distorted just a hair, as seen through a glass darkly. We should remember that, because there is a promise here:
… but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12b KJV)
The way we know God now is spiritual:
But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24 KJV)
Jesus walked and talked with people for three years, and they did not understand that instead of becoming the physical ruler of Israel He would be killed and rule in the hearts of those who believed Him, forever. They were looking for the conquering Messiah without reading about the suffering Messiah who will return as the conqueror.
Which Messiah are we seeking? The one who serves us, or the one we serve? Do we seek all the counsel of God (Acts 20:27) or do we prefer the glass be even darker so we see only what appeals to us?
The day will come when we stand before our Lord, face to face. I believe that getting to know Him through His word and prayer is the best preparation for that meeting.