Through a Glass Darkly

For now we see through a glass, darkly;
but then face to face:

1 Corinthians 13:12    (King James Version)
She was in her early 70s when I visited for the last time. Of German parents, missionaries in South America, she was Bolivian-born, and proudly so. She and her husband had spent a lifetime in full-time Christian service during which she demonstrated her grace and kindness, her profound faith and deep spirituality.

A year earlier she knew things were not right, but it was as yet unclear exactly what was wrong. The day before the diagnosis of an inoperable carcinoma of the pancreas was made she was in the Sunday morning service. As it came to an end, she received a powerful assurance that God would be with her and that all would be well. A lot had happened over the following months.

Our final conversation ranged over several topics, but she kept coming back to childhood experiences. She spoke repeatedly of revolutions, uprisings and strikes which always started in the university next door to where they'd lived in Bolivia’s capital city, La Paz. Hand grenades and gunfire were the order of the day. Alone in the house while parents were on the Lord’s business ‘up-country’, she and her brother often went to bed barricading the windows. They were clearly disturbing memories.

'Is it wrong to imagine?' she asked.
I stopped to think, but then replied: 'Not at all. I regard imagination as the handmaiden of faith, but why do you ask?'
She called for a frig magnet with two words inscribed on it: 'Imagine Peace!'
'Is that what you're doing as you think of those days long ago?' I asked.
She nodded.
'And even for the situation here now?’
Again she nodded.
'Then why not also imagine the Prince of Peace himself?' I asked. 'There weren't hand grenades and gunfire in his day, but he knew all about the sword and a spear, and a hammer and nails. Of course he died, but now he's alive. And he's here with us. Imagine him here!'

Her face was emaciated, but it glowed as her eyes brightened. But I could see the brow wrinkle slightly, as though to say: 'Really?' If there were doubts, that was understandable.

I believe the Prince of Peace was there, although I sensed that she was seeing him 'through a glass darkly'.

She died a few days later. But our faith and hope assure me that she will see him face to face.