“Partial Understanding”

February 16, 2017

Plastic covered cart near New Holland, PA

This old order Mennonite man devised a creative way to use his open cart in colder weather. He constructed a wooden frame and covered it with clear plastic. I visited with him a few minutes behind the McDonalds in New Holland, PA and he seemed pleased at my interest. As a courtesy to locals the McDonalds provides a hitching post for the horses.

“Partial Understanding”

Message summary: There’s so much we don’t understand; some things make no sense to us at all. In times of partial understanding may we recall the promise in our daily Bible text.

Note: Due to some unexpected time consuming obstacle* and an early morning of chaplain visitation we did not have the time to prepare a podcast for this message.

“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” (1 Corinthians 13:12).  New Living Translation

Yesterday Ester watched Nolan, a precocious little 4 year old. He sat down beside me and gave me a few punches in my belly informing me that he weighed 450 pounds.

“450 pounds!” I asked, “How much do you suppose I weigh?” He quickly answered, “175 pounds”. Well, that sort of made my day, although according to the weight charts that would actually make me underweight, something I have not experienced since high school.

Actually I think Nolan is just learning about numbers and had weighed himself on our bathroom scale but he hasn’t learned about decimal points yet. Maybe he weighs 45 pounds or something like that but didn’t understand when the scale read 45.0.

Since he’s only four he’ll surely forget about reporting his weight to be 450 pounds. But someday in the distant future he can read this in the archives and have a pretty good laugh at himself for thinking he weighed 450 pounds. As he grows older he’ll also find out that there are some things we just don’t understand!

We all have matters in life that could be described as “seeing through a glass darkly”. In these often gloomy experiences we can choose to despair or place our faith in God, readily admitting that we see through a glass darkly. That’s why we are called to walk by faith and not by sight. Our faith is founded solidly upon the unchanging, ever dependable Word of God that is our roadmap when the road ahead is foggy.

C.H. Spurgeon makes an interesting assertion that we couldn’t handle this greater knowledge and understanding on this side of eternity. “If we knew more of our own sinfulness, we might be driven to despair; if we knew more of God’s glory, we might die of terror; if we had more understanding, unless we had equivalent capacity to employ it, we might be filled with conceit and tormented with ambition. But up there we shall have our minds and our systems strengthened to receive more, without the damage that would come to us here from overleaping the boundaries of order, supremely appointed and divinely regulated.”

There’s so much we don’t understand; some things make no sense to us at all. Indeed at times the tunnel may be narrow, dark, long, and filled with debris as we navigate our way through. But the daily Scripture portion, a part of the love chapter, acknowledges this. “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” (1 Corinthians 13:12). In times of partial understanding may we recall this as a promise.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber:

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, there are many obstacles that will lead us astray if our eyes become fixed on the obstacles. Instead we want to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who set His eyes on the throne of God, enabling Him to endure the cross, its shame and agony. Fix our eyes on the goal of heaven where all will finally be made perfectly clear when we see Jesus face to face. In the meantime sustain us through Your mercy, grow our faith, and help us to take as many as possible with us to our eternal home in heaven. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.


* Several times a week we need to leave early for visits (around 6AM) so we prepare the Daily Encouragement message the night before. However Brooksyne had misplaced an important piece of paper and she just could not find it, hard as she tried. I had already taken the trash out by the road (2 bags) but she wondered if the paper had accidentally fallen in the trash. So I went out and brought the bags in and we went through the trash piece by piece looking for the important paper. We never found it in all our trash search. I took the bags back out and when I came back she had found the paper, tucked in her Bible!!! She was very happy. A good lesson might have been based on Luke 15:7-9.


Today’s Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
“In Christ Alone/The Solid Rock”  Video  Travis Cottrell

“This Is My Desire”  Video

“The Lord’s Prayer (Deliver Us)”  Video  Selah

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