I was recently deeply moved by a short video circulating the internet. It features a seventh grade boy who is severely colorblind. His teacher, who has the same condition, lets the student try on his colorblind glasses. As he puts them on and sees life in vivid color for the first time, he is overcome by emotion and begins to sob in the middle of his science classroom.
As I watched this video, I found myself weeping along with him. This moment pulled at something deep inside me: a desire for beauty yet unseen that nothing in this world satisfies; a longing for wholeness in place of the brokenness I sense on a day to day basis; a hope that there is joy to be found beyond my current vantage point. As tears rolled down my cheeks, I realized that I was seeing a glimpse of eternity, and the words of 1 Corinthians 13:12 flooded into my mind.
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.1 Corinthians 13:12
The hope of eternity is this: we will see God face to face. No longer will His glory be obstructed by the sin and suffering of this life, but we will know Him fully. The One whose presence promises boundless joy will dwell with us. The beauty for which we so desperately yearn will be on display right before our eyes, not merely as something to be observed, but as Someone to love. The all-glorious One will not stand far off, but He will come down to us. He will reach out and touch us. He will wipe the tears of our brokenness from our eyes and declare "I am making you new."
The reason we long for something more than this life can offer is because we were made for something more. A beautifully decorated house in the perfect location will never fulfill our desire to feel truly at home because this world was never meant to be our home. A lifetime of world travel and unending adventure will never satisfy our craving for discovery because it is only in the infinite riches of God's character that we will discover for all of eternity that we can find true joy. Marriage will not remedy your loneliness and desire for love, because it is only a shadow of the greater reality to come, when the Church will be presented to Christ as His eternal bride. All of the beauty in this world was never meant to satisfy, but to point to the source of all that is beautiful that we might delight in Him.
In a sense, we are all like the colorblind child in the video, but our vision will not be clouded forever. People who suffer from colorblindness do not see in black and white, they just don't see as many colors or as vividly as those with typical color perception. In the same way, God has graciously allowed us to see in part as we wait. We have seen the glory of God in His Word, but we wait for the day when His glory will shine before our very eyes. We have experienced the joy of knowing Christ and being united to Him, but we hope in the day when we will see His glorious face. We have the peace of God that surpasses understanding and rules in our hearts, but only when Christ returns will we be totally freed from the presence of sin that wages war in our hearts.
So how do we live in the meantime? How do we walk through this present darkness? We must hold fast to the words of Peter when he says, "though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory" (1 Peter 1:8). We chase glory every day, not that we would be fully satisfied in this life, but that our joy would increase as we direct our longing to the hope of eternity. We run to God's Word where His glory is put on display so that we can delight in His goodness and find strength in the knowledge that the joy of His presence that sustains us now will overflow in His uninhibited presence for all of eternity. On that day, His glory will outshine every bit of pain we have experienced, and our satisfaction will be all the sweeter for the suffering. His goodness might not always be evident and the mystery of his will may leave you feeling confused, but one day we will see Him clearly–one day we will see Him face to face–and every moment will be worth it.