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“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.” (2 Corinthians 5:1, NLT)
One year, our small group decided that we should all go camping for a weekend. My husband and I were not thrilled with the idea. Taking four little boys camping wasn’t high on our list of things we wanted to do. But we decided we needed to be “good” group members and participate. Can I just say, it was one of the worst weekends I’ve ever had!
Have you ever been in a tent with four little boys? Just in case you don’t get it, let me explain. There’s the cooking over an open fire – definitely not convenient! The dirt! The clean up with no running water! The dirt! The humidity and no air conditioner! The dirt! No electricity! The dirt!!!
And then there was the sleeping or lack of it.
My husband and I were smart (or so we thought). We brought an air mattress so we wouldn’t have to lie on the tent floor but what we didn’t bring was an extra blanket to put on top of the air mattress to keep the cold air from seeping through. I lay awake most of the night dreaming of my nice, warm, soft, comfortable bed.
My thoughts went something like this, “This is nuts!!! My bed is forty-five minutes from here. I have a house with air-conditioning, running water, flushing toilets and no DIRT and we choose to be here! We even paid money to stay here! Something is seriously wrong with this picture. We must be insane!”
Look at 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 (The Message):
“For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven—God-made, not handmade—and we’ll never have to relocate our “tents” again. Sometimes we can hardly wait to move—and so we cry out in frustration. Compared to what’s coming, living conditions around here seem like a stopover in an unfurnished shack, and we’re tired of it! We’ve been given a glimpse of the real thing, our true home, our resurrection bodies! The Spirit of God whets our appetite by giving us a taste of what’s ahead. He puts a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.”
When it comes to spiritual tenting I feel the same way as I do about camping. I don’t like living in a tent! I long for my real home, the home where Jesus is. I long for the place where I can have a face to face conversation with Him, where there is no more sorrow and no more tears. I want to be where the pain of this life is a distant memory, where I will have the answers, where I’ll see the loved ones who’ve gone on before me and where there is peace. I long for my REAL HOME, don’t you?
I love the last sentence of this passage, “God has put a little of heaven in our hearts so that we’ll never settle for less.” He gave us the Holy Spirit to remind us that this is not our home, and to teach us not to settle for anything less. But it’s easy to lose sight of the “little bit of heaven” that God has placed within our hearts. We often find ourselves, day by day, settling for so much less than God intended.
Isn’t it funny how we get so distracted with our tent? We decorate it, “fix it up” and try to disguise it so that it won’t look and feel too much like a tent and yet it doesn’t change a thing. Oh, the time we waste focusing on the temporal instead of the eternal.
Let me ask you, are you settling for less? Have you spent so much time focusing on your “tent” that you have lost sight of your real home? Have you forgotten that you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you? Let God whet your appetite with a taste of what’s up ahead and never, never, never settle for anything less!
Father in Heaven, When I get frustrated and tired, when I’m confused or lost or lonely, remind me that there is more going on than I can see. Comfort me with the promise that there will come a day when I will see you face to face. May the hope of heaven be a light in my circumstances today. Amen