Now We See Dimly
It’s quiet here. The pixies are upstairs playing with Snap Circuits, and I watch our friendly woodpecker working at the ole tree. The quiet settles down like a heavy layer of fog while my spirit grieves.
The weight of loss.
She slipped away peacefully this morning into the arms of her Saviour. A beautiful exit from the seen to the unseen world.
It came quickly. Maybe it’s impossible to ever prepare one’s heart for the departure of a loved one. But it seems like just yesterday all eight of us were climbing into that gigantic, blue Ford that was really more boat than car. I’m pretty sure that would be illegal right about now, but the Blue Ridge Mountains awaited. And, really, what is more fun than being sandwiched between eight family members packed front to back into two rows for a six hour drive?
We knew the battle with cancer had waged for years upon her body, but we didn’t know it was about to take it’s toll. How one week can change everything. Death is no respector of persons.
Yet, this I call to mind, and therefore, I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed. Your mercies are new every morning, this morning. For the first day, dear aunt, you are waking up in a body that is not wrecked by disease. You are waking up face to face.
Face to Face
“For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face…”. (I Cor. 13:12)
I’m limited by my finite senses to know what that moment was like when my aunt opened up her eyes to His glory. There are times I have felt His presence so strongly that it was impossible to move. The numinous Spirit invading the secular space making it sacred and holy. Yet, this cannot begin to capture the magnitude of being face to face.
This gifting of His presence in our lives is preparatory, a precursor, the prelude before the final act. It is just a hint of what awaits. The gifted songwriter Sara Groves penned it this way, “This is just an invitation, just a sample of the whole.”
He invites us into His presence, giving us a small glimpse into future glories. Now we see dimly. Then we shall see the whole.
The story finished.
The last page turned to the beginning of Life.
It’s a lyric I haven’t heard yet. It’s a song that only the One with the splintered hands can sing: “I have defeated death; it has lost it’s sting!” Death be not proud. The Lamb Who was slain at the foundation of the world sings a song of victory, “Welcome home, my child, I know your name.”
Her beloved, swept her away up into His arms, wiped away the tears, and she saw the Light.
We are temporary travelers, vapors, a blade of grass here today, gone tomorrow. Our soul longs to know the ending, of things hoped for but not seen. And, here is the beautiful truth. He is the ending. He is the last story line.
When we open our eyes on the other side, we will finally see the Lamb slain, the conquering Lion, face to face.
Sometimes it takes death to wake one to life.
Sorrow invites us to reevaluate what it is we are living for. It urges us to try to peek behind the veil, and invite the sacred into the mundane. To reach for the abundant life, because this life is all we have and we don’t get a do-over. “Only those into which Love Himself has entered will ascend to Love Himself. And these can be raised with Him only if they have, in some degree and fashion, shared His death; if the natural element in them has submitted--year after year--to transmutation,” writes Lewis in The Four Loves.
It is in death, daily dying to our selves, we see the face of God. Glimpses of the beauty that is to come manifests itself in the surrender, denial, and release. And, when we take our final breath, we shall know that we have always known the face of God. With new eyes, I see it today in the laughter of my children, I feel it in the tender touch of my husband, I watch it unfold in the splendor of the setting sun. These invitations, these beckoning to see more ... to see Him.
Though our hearts grieve, though our bones waste away, we have this hope. We will know Him fully even as we are fully known. We will see everything with perfect clarity because we will see Him, who is the ending, face to face.
“In Heaven there will be no anguish and no duty of turning away from our earthly Beloveds. First, because we shall have turned already; from the portraits to the Original, from the rivulets to the Fountain, from the creatures He made lovable to Love Himself. But secondly, because we shall find them all in Him.”
In this valley of the shadow of death, I feel a turning. A longing to see the Original.