Incomplete Clarity

“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

One thing that is clear (no pun intended) from this verse is, on this side of heaven, we will never have complete clarity.  Even when we pray, study, consult with others, our decisions will still be clouded by the values of our society, our own prejudices and our limited understanding of other people and of God.

If you have any doubt about this, read the book of Job.  Job was a righteous man by every measure. He was not only prosperous, he was righteous.  He feared God and turned away from evil.  He loved his children.  Then bad things started to happen.  His children were killed, his property was lost.  He was afflicted with boils.  Still, he remained faithful to God.  He just wanted clarity.  He wanted to know why.  He wanted to understand.

His friends, if you recall, believed they had clarity.  It looked like God was punishing Job– therefore, he had sinned.  Somewhere along the line he had done something wrong, and these problems were his just deserts.  Job maintains his innocence and begs, “Let the Almighty answer me!”(Job 31:35)

Here are some parts of God’s response:

“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?  Tell me, if you have understanding?”  Job 38:4


“Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty?  He who argues with God, let him answer it.” Job 40:2

In essence, God is saying, I am God and you are not. Job accedes saying,

“Behold I am of small account;  what shall I answer you?  I lay my hand on my mouth.”  Job 40:3

In Isaiah God tells us:

“… my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”  Isaiah 55:8

We must be open to the reality that we won’t always make the right decision.  We won’t always understand. Our human viewpoints are circumscribed.  We can only trust that God, who works all things out to our good, will lead us back when we stray and use even our mistakes for His glory.


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