“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
It’s interesting to watch infants develop. As the days turn into weeks and the weeks turn into months new discoveries are made. They see themselves in the mirror for the first time; they discover their hands; they find their belly buttons. They begin the long journey of coming to know themselves.
This process doesn’t end with infancy, there’s so much for children to learn. Who are my parents? My family? Who and I? You could say that we spend our whole lives coming to know ourselves…it never ends. It’s as Paul says, “we see in a mirror, dimly.” There’s always some part of us that’s not illuminated enough for us to see. An edge is always fuzzy; the perspective is a bit off. And so we continue our quest begun in infancy to come to know ourselves. We study, we ask questions, we go off to find ourselves, we reinvent ourselves, and we return to our roots. How do I know who I am?
It is indeed interesting to watch infants, and other ages for that matter, seek to know who they are. It’s also interesting to journey with folks at the other end of life; in their twilight years. Just the other day I took a nice long stroll with a dear saint. We talked about so much; it was delightful. But one thing became clear; she didn’t know who I was, and to be honest, she didn’t fully know who she was either. Its one of life’s cruel twists; if you live long enough sometimes you don’t know who you are anymore. Anyone who’s been around someone with dementia or alzheimer’s knows this all too well.
I shared with this dear saint Psalm 139, the Inescapable God: “O Lord, you have searched me and know me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from far away. You search out my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is so high that I cannot attain it.”
As we prayed I thought about this Psalm and about 1 Corinthians 13. Throughout the cruel twists and turns of this life we may very well feel as if we’ve lost ourselves. But the truth is this, when you don’t know who you are, God knows who you are. While we may not know ourselves, we are known by God. Again and again the big message of Scripture is not who we are; we’ll always come up short in that department. No, the big message of Scripture is whose we are. That is the never ending well spring of life that bubbles up to eternity. It’s not who we are but whose we are that counts. We are God’s, and when we are named and claimed by him nothing can ever change that fact. So no matter if you’re a little baby, an ageing senior, or anywhere in between, you are God’s. So rest assured that no matter where you are in life and no matter what is going on, with God you are known.