"For now we see through a glass darkly, but then, face to face; now I know in part, but then shall I know even as I am known."
-- I Corinthians 13:12,
King James Version
Headlights were a must during my early morning drive. Fog, pea soup-thick, limited how far ahead I could see. I prayed my fellow drivers had their lights on, too.
Fog, an atmospheric condition that grounds planes and reduces ground speeds to a crawl, has an eternal counterpart capable of lifting our spirits far above the early mist that temporarily impairs our sight.
"What's that?" my 4-year-old son asked as he looked out the window one foggy day.
Matching my best scientific knowledge to his limited, pre-school vocabulary, I tried to explain.
"Oh, that's fog. We get fog when the clouds come all the way down to the ground."
Instead of accepting my perfectly good answer he looked startled.
"Won't Jesus fall down?" he asked.
I don't remember if I convinced him Jesus was either on a high cloud way up in the sky, or stronger than Superman and could keep himself from falling down. Whatever I said I was touched by his concern for Jesus, and not at all surprised. Like most Sunday School children, he had seen that picture of Jesus standing on a cloud, and 4-year-olds don't know the difference between real and symbolic.
The Apostle Paul spent his entire ministry traveling from town to town teaching new Christians about Jesus. Yet even after all his efforts, it's doubtful those who heard him speak grasped what this Savior-of-the-world was really like. And as he explained to the church at Corinth, even he had questions.
"Now I see through a glass darkly," he said, "but when I see him face to face, I'll know Him as I am known." Translated into our pre-heaven vocabulary we might say, "The light's poor down here, Jesus, and I can't see you very well. But when I get where you are, then I'll know as much about you as you know about me." Until that day, sometimes called "The Rapture," "The Second Coming," or even death, what's a myopic Christian to do? Does our foggy, spiritual vision keep us from knowing enough about Jesus to live the faith we say we believe?
For years of early, Sunday mornings, before the Dyess Parkway was built or I moved to my present home in Martinez, I drove the long, curvy route between Belair Road in Evans to the Fort Gordon Chapel where I played the organ. During the fall especially, when the fog was thick and the foliage was at its peak, I remember turning onto the upper end of Flagler Road and watching the fog coast down the hill in front of me as if making sure my vehicle and I never caught up. At the same time, the fog's retreat revealed more and more of the breathtaking foliage in the lengthening valley below.
That Flagler Road picture is what I think of when I read the numerous passages in the Bible about "leaving the darkness...walking in the light..." and "taking advantage of the amount of light you already have." Like a lifting fog or an emerging landscape, if we proceed toward the end of the light we can see, then God will give us more light. Symbolically speaking, he will shed more understanding on the difficulties that threaten to cloud even the amount of "light" we have.
I purposely used the 400-year-old King James translation of the Bible in the quote at the top of the page. The Living Bible, published much more recently, paraphrases these well-known words like this:
"We can see and understand only a little about God now, as if we were peering at his reflection in a poor mirror; but someday we are going to see him in his completeness, face to face. Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now."
So let us drive on in the light we already have. The fog will lift someday. Until then, no matter what the weather or atmospheric condition, Jesus will not "fall down" on the job of shining the amount of light we need on our corner of the world.
(Barbara Seaborn is a local, free-lance writer. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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