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Seeds of the Kingdom

Partially Sighted

by John Berry

17 December 2013

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Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
1 Corinthians 14:12, RSV

Whilst participating in Operation Blairmore in Scotland recently, we went with our guests for a visit to the nearby North Eastern coast and took a walk along the cliffs. The weather was clear, and as we walked along we were rewarded with a rare view of a school of dolphins chasing, we assumed, a shoal of fish towards the shore. The dolphins were leaping out of the water in order to dive down upon their prey, accompanied by a great flock of sea birds, who were joining in the fun and catching their supper. Although the sun was beginning to go down, and the dolphins were several hundred metres away, we got a reasonable view of this wonderful moment in nature. If the sun had been brighter, and we’d been closer, how much more would we have seen?

I was reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians where he acknowledges our partial sight into the things of heaven, demonstrated by our lack of full understanding of the gifts of the Holy Spirit whilst still in this earthly life. It’s like, he says, looking into a cloudy reflection of something when the mirror glass is tarnished. We can see something, enough to make out what it is we’re looking at, but perhaps not details. For a man it’s a bit like trying to shave in a window’s reflection!

So much of our Christian life is a matter of walking by faith, as we don’t have all the details yet. It’s looking for the next step ahead when the Lord hasn’t given us the full map reference. It’s praying with someone, when we don’t see specific answers to confirm our prayers. It’s acting in faith financially when we only have the Word of Scripture to assure us it will be OK. As Hebrews reminds us, ‘faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see’ (Hebrews 11:1).

As human beings we often seem to want to know more than we do now. There’s a constant thirst for knowledge – no bad thing in itself. This extends to believers as well. We’re encouraged to ‘search the scriptures’ as part of our Christian growth, and Ellel Ministries contributes to this by teaching about the Kingdom of God. However there’ll be times when we can only see as if in a dirty mirror, and we’re called to walk by faith in the One we do know, and see, in anticipation of the day when ‘I shall know fully, even as I am fully known’ (1 Corinthians 13:12).

Praise God for that partial sighting of the dolphins in Scotland, and for the revelation of God’s truth that I do know now.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, that You do give us those amazing glimpses into Your presence and person in Your precious Word. Help us to walk in faith in what we do see and not get distracted by what we don’t. Amen.

John Berry entered the Baptist Ministry more than 40 years ago, and joined the Team at Ellel Glyndley Manor in 2007 with his wife Jennie. They have both now retired from the team but remain as part of the Teaching and Associate Ministry Teams at Glyndley. John and Jennie have seven Grandchildren.


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