Now…But Then

Now…But Then
Share with others

1 Corinthians 13:12

The basis of this verse is set in vs 9-10 when Paul spoke of a time when that which is perfect is come. He is referring to the eternal state. When time has been removed and eternity is ushered in. All the knowledge we have, all the preaching and teaching that we do, all the understanding that we have is only done in part, which means in a portion of the whole. But, Paul says, there will be a time when that will be done away with. We will no longer only do things in part, but a time of perfection will come. It all will be brought to completion; everything will be brought to its destined end. So, when Paul gets to vs 12, he speaks about “now…but then”. He says those words twice. Once is enough to get our attention, but twice more so. Like when Jesus would say, verily, verily, I say unto you. These words capture our attention today. There is the “now” which is this moment in time. What is our problem with “now”?

Our Perception is Limited
There are things about this life we just don’t understand. They are shrouded in mystery and confusion, at times, on our part. The glass he refers to is a looking glass or mirror. In those days it wasn’t like ours but made of highly polished brass or silver. Corinth was famous for their manufacture. It didn’t reflect every line or feature as truly as modern mirrors do. They reflected the object, but the lines were blurred and uncertain causing the image to be distorted. The word “darkly” means in a riddle, something obscure or that which we can’t figure out or understand.

We struggle to understand at times the events of life. We believe in the Sovereignty of God and the providence of God. We know that He has a purpose and plan for our lives. We know He is all powerful and all wise, but sometimes things happen, and we just don’t understand why. We wonder why godly people get cancers; why loved ones are taken suddenly; why we battle things as we do. It is our perception of life’s mysteries that we struggle with right now, in this present time. We have a limited understanding of the events of life. It’s as though we look at things in a distorted mirror and we can’t make out everything as we’d like.

The Promise of God is Reassuring
Again, there is the “now” and there is the “but then” in the text. The word “know” means to know thoroughly, to know full well and to understand completely. I am so glad there is a “but then” promise given by a loving God that there is coming a day when the mists will roll away; when confusion will give way to clarity; when mystery shall give way to majesty, when we’ll see things in a whole new light. In that day we will.

Understand His purpose: everything that has come in our lives has been with a purpose. In heaven will see the meaning of those things; how that God has brought things about for our good and His glory. We will realize then, as we could not know now how that all things were working together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. All of our questions will be settled in His presence.

Understand His plan: we’ll have unfolded for us throughout eternity the plan of God. But then I shall know even as also I am known—I believe this shows that we’ll know one another in heaven, but it means so much more than that. It means that when we see Him face to face, we will see things in our lives from His perspective. The old hymn says, “Just one glimpse of Him in glory will the toils of life repay.” Our perspective has been shrouded in mystery and like a tangled mess, but we’ll see things from heaven’s perspective, and we will know then as we have been known. We’ll learn that all that happened to us was according to His perfect plan; all that happened to us was handled with perfect love, that nothing that ever happened was by mistake but guided by His loving hand.

My wife used to do cross-stitch work years ago. I would watch as she did the work, and I just couldn’t always make out what she was making until she was finished. Then, what had seemed like a mess of tangled threads to me ended up making sense and being something beautiful that she had made. There is coming a day in heaven when what has looked like a tangled mess to us here will reveal a perfect picture over there.

Across the world, there are Christians who need encouragement and strength that only God’s word can provide. We are focused on helping Christians find encouragement, develop stronger relationships with God, and help non-Christians come to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Another Well Ministries is a non-profit ministry that relies on donations to continue our work. You can find out more about us and ways to support us here.

If you enjoy our devotionals, subscribe for free to receive them daily in your email!

Exit mobile version