Where should our focus lie?

I’ve been meditating on one of the verses that really ministered to us shortly after Joel’s home going:

1 Corinthians 13:12 (NLT) Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.

It speaks of trusting a God whose ways are far beyond my understanding; who knows and loves me perfectly and strengthens me in my weaknesses.

It speaks of hope in a day when we will see Him face to face; a day when we will be made like Him and have a mature understanding of mysteries that are now far beyond our reach; a day when we will see how He has tenderly and lovingly woven everything in the tapestry of our lives together for our good and His glory.

Last week Holy Spirit reminded me that this verse is found in the midst of the love chapter.  🙂

As a young mother, I often used this chapter to measure my love walk at the end of the day.  “Was I loving?  Was I kind?  Was I patient when ______ didn’t remember that 4 x 6 = 24?  Was I long suffering when ______ left their socks in the middle of the living room the floor for the umpteenth time?”

When Joel was murdered, I found myself struggling big time with verses 7 and 8.

“Love always protects… Love never fails…”

How was my sovereign, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, and most importantly “loving” God living out “Love always protects.. and love never fails” at the moment of the shooting?

How am I now supposed to always trust, always hope and always persevere when love feels so much like excruciating pain?

How can my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world carry on living day after day through war, famine, death and persecution; so much daily pain and struggle?

Everywhere we go.  Even when we “run away” to the Nashville Zoo for a break on my birthday, there are reminders of the pain and suffering around us.  The family that donated the land to the zoo buried several children in their small family cemetery.

These are the answers I believe I’ve found in this chapter:

Verse 12:
1) Accept that right now I see things “imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror…”

Verse 13:
2-4) “And now these three endure: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”

2) By faith, believe that God is good, that He loves me so passionately that He died for me while I was still a mess, that He still loves me today and has called me to abide in His love.

3) Set my hope on the grace and glory that will be given to me at His appearing.  I Peter 1:13
Romans 8:18, and 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

4) While waiting for that promised day, focus on the most important and enduring thing: love; His love for me and through me towards others.

Everything is hard right now.  Even snapping photos of this beautiful cloud leopard at the zoo reminds me of Joel.  He loved taking photos at the zoo and would often take off with my camera.

A recap of the chapter:

Verses 1-3 Without love it all adds up to nothing.

Verses 4-7 Love defined.

Verses 8-12 Our understanding this side of Heaven is very limited.

..but there’s one thing we can count on:

Verse 13: “And now these three endure: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”

Jesus Culture’s “One Thing Remains” kept me going in the first days and weeks after Joel’s home going.

Even when it looks like His love has failed, it hasn’t.  One day we’ll see the evidence of the things we’ve believed.  And even if we don’t, I would rather have believed and be proven wrong than have not believed
and be proven right.

Ephesian 3:14-20 For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in Heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Doing all I know to abide in His love,