Many of us are asking “What will happen next?” Some are looking to news sources or social commentators to provide that insight. Others are listening to the prophets of God. Everyone has an opinion. Our search for answers reveals that none of us know fully what is about to transpire. We only get bits and pieces of a larger developing reality. Paul addressed that issue when he wrote to the Church in Corinth, “Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture!” (I Corinthians 13:9).
Peter was writing to believers giving examples of the prophets of old who got fragmented glimpses of the coming Messiah. He wrote, “This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you” (I Peter 1:10). The prophets then, as it is now, only saw part of a much larger picture. In the next verse, Peter said “They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward” (vs.11).
The prophets in the Old Covenant wondered what the Spirit was talking about regarding the times, seasons, and situations of life. The same applies to today with the Spirit living within us. Some things we want to know will only be revealed when the completed work of the Lord is finished in a generation.
We need to park our most confident understanding of what we discern is taking place in a “that is possible” file until the Lord completes His work. We are living in a significant time of transition in the affairs of the world and in the application of the Church’s mission to the world. I have seen some things that I believe to be true, but they are still only a partial understanding until the Lord affirms a larger reality.
As Peter said, the Spirit of the Lord is at work in His people. That work will create in us a wondering “They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about.” That process of wondering has not changed over time through all generations of faith. When our confidence is placed in what we interpret as a final understanding of reality, our confidence becomes misplaced because we have stopped wondering. Our only reliable source of truth is the Lord. He will ask us to trust Him until all the answers are finally revealed. That has always been a challenging assignment, especially when so many are making confident assertions about what is to come.