Saturday, February 14, 2009

Face to Face

You know those moments when a kernel of truth that has been forever imbedded in your brain wiggles its way down to your chest and penetrates the layers of your heart? These moments are always life-changing because those little kernels of truth have a way of turning tough, scaly hearts into liquid hearts that refresh the hearts of those around it.

Yesterday a kernel of truth finally made its way from my head to my heart.

I was wearing a tall black hat that I hoped looked sort of "priestly" and I spoke with my most authentic foreign accent. Standing at the front of my classroom, I did my best impression of Saint Valentine for my students. I talked about true love, the source of true love, and how we can love others truly. Then I had my students open to 1 Corinthians 13, the looove chapter.

I've read this chapter a million times. I can't count the number of mugs it has graced, songs it has inspired, or household toilets it has hung above. But yesterday I read something that took my breath away.

1 Corinthians 13:8-12 "Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."

"Then we shall see face to face..."
Of course I've tried to envision what it will be like to see God face to face. I usually fall on my face somewhere between "J" and "esus!" But what will it be like to look at the people I love in heaven, where they will have no trace of sin, no soul scars or spiritual burdens, no sadness, no regrets or physical ailments? What will we be like when we are stripped of the sin that discolors and mars our essence? How glorious will it be when I can see the people I love as they should be, the way God wanted them to be at the dawn of time?

In a sliver of a second I thought about everyone that I love. I like to think I know these people's quirky tendencies and admirable strengths pretty well. My sister Rebecca will identify who is hurting or uneasy in any social situation, and my mom will always find humor in stressful situations. My brother Aaron plays the guitar as a therapeutic outlet, and my littlest brother Marc pulls his chin in when he's making an especially funny joke. And then there's my dad whose integrity is unwavering and who cooks a mean dish of chicken pasta. My roommate Megan squints her eyes right before she's about to laugh really hard, and Stacey's eyes light up whenever she talks about her most recent educational pursuits. My college roommate Rachel asks the most poignant questions, and Cara feels fully alive when she's dancing.

I know it's cliche, but I could write books and books about these people that I love so dearly. So, what will it be like to see them face to face? How glorious will they be when I see them in their, "true form" one day in heaven?

Geroge MacDonald speculated about what it will be like in heaven when we stand, for the first time, face to face with the people we love. I'm not sure what MacDonald is implying about the resurrection of our bodies in this quote, but I love his idea about knowing each other. "I think then we shall be able to pass into and through each other's very souls as we please, knowing each other's thoughts... and so being like God."

I reveled in my thoughts during this truth transfer. Then, with 20 pairs of curious eyes on me, I continued to read the latter part of 1 Corinthians 13:12, and I think the little kernel of truth grew roots and made itself a permanent fixture of my heart.

"Now I know in part, then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known."
I am known. When God sees me, he sees me in light of the cross, not in light of my sin. He sees me the way I should be. The way he intended for me to be, back in the Garden of Eden. I have once again been hit with the reality that as I continue to be united with Christ and his Body, I become more myself. I grow more like the Sarah Jackson God had in mind when he formed the foundations of the earth.

Fellow followers of Christ, today I feel so blessed to be able to watch you press into Jesus and begin to take on your true form. And I cannot wait until I see all of you face to face.


  1. Sarah
    You have a gift for writing and inspiring. I appreciate your heart and willingness to share.
    Aunt Shannon

  2. Truly inspiring. This is for sure my favorite of your posts! I kept getting chills. I love thinking about this truth. Thank you for illuminating it so beautifully!