Saturday, February 1, 2014

Seeing in a Mirror Dimly

  • Then he went to the spring of water and threw salt in it, and said, “Thus says the Lord, I have made this water wholesome; henceforth neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” So the water has been wholesome to this day, according to the word which Elisha spoke. He went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and thence he returned to Samaria. (2 Kings 2:21-25 RSV)
  • For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. (1 Cor.13:12 RSV)

Throughout my adult life, I have often had more questions than answers to life in general and to the Bible in particular.

Many years ago, I was invited to a joint-church-summer-retreat somewhere in North America while the keynote speaker took care of the adult sessions and I was responsible for the younger generations.   A high school junior student asked me during a break that if I got all the answers of the Bible as that keynote speaker claimed.  My answer was, “No. The truth is that I am still looking for the answers!”
I was scared of those who had all the answers of the Bible then.  I still am.

Today’s Old Testament text is one of the few examples that my answers are nowhere to be found.  

How could the prophet Elisha curse and kill those 42 boys in the name of the Lord, just because they joked about his baldness?  Especially right after Elisha did some good stuff (also in the name of the Lord) for the nearby village. (see 2 Kings 2:21-22)

Remember the famous quote by Lord Acton? 
"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely…”   
No, this is just a good quote, not the answer to that question.

A man died and was glad to enter the heaven.  He was amazed to see that there were so many castle-like buildings around the main entrance of the heaven. 

“What are those buildings for?” the man asked.
The angel answered, “These people in the buildings believed that they were the only ones saved and are now here in heaven.  You see, they always believed that while they were on earth.  They were all kinds: Catholics, Protestantism, Pentecostalism, Non-denominational… you name them, we’ve got them all.”
“Hmm... How about those who are wandering on the streets here?”

The angel smiled and whispered, “For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you welcomed me; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matt. 25:35-36)

I love Paul for his honesty when he wrote:
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.
Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood."  


  1. Peter didn't know waht he was talking about when he answered Jesus that he loved Jesus. Peter never knew what he was talking about everytime he opened his mouth during the three years he was with Jesus. He didn't know what "love" is. So Jesus suggested to Peter that he fed His sheep. ("Then you will know what love is all about.") Do you know why I admire a great pastor? I believe a great pastor truly know what "love" is through pastoring the sheep.

  2. It was about the spiritual journey of Peter and reflecting to each and every one of us too. We seldom know what we are doing or talking about until much later in our life circle. You are right that Peter did not know what he was talking about then. Yet he took Jesus words seriously enough to walk his talk till he ended hid life for the sake of the Gospel.