In Tents for a Time
“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”
– 2 Corinthians 5:1 ESV
You see them everywhere, but you may not recognize them. You see them at the store, at the office, in your school, and on your job site. We have seen streets and highways packed with them in Bogota, Colombia, and Lima, Peru. And the sea of them in Delhi, India, is overwhelming. There are all different sizes, shapes, and colors of them, all made by the hand of God.
It’s not just in the course of your daily activities that you see them. You see one every morning when you wake up and look in the mirror. The Bible refers to them as “tents”—we know them as our own body…this temporary home we live in for a short time while we are on this earth. Just like the Coleman tent you may have in your garage, a tent is made for mobility and protection from the elements. However, they are no match for gale force winds or a hungry animal. Tents are frail, sometimes (most of the time) uncomfortable, and not truly secure.
I have to admit that sleeping in a tent on the cold ground in a rain storm does not have the same romantic appeal that it did when I was young. This tent that I live in has seen its share of storms and intruders—going through divorce took its toll, as did kidney cancer, heart attacks, and the myriad of bumps and bruises along the way. I am extremely grateful for God’s grace and protection through it all!
Many times we work hard to improve the tent of our body and make it more presentable. We can spend hours and hours of precious time sprucing up our tent over our lifetime, and spend thousands of dollars attempting to make our tent beautiful and enduring. But when all is said and done, it still is only a fragile and aging temporary home.
Paul was a tentmaker by trade (Acts 18:3), so he knew that even the sturdiest of tents would one day be “destroyed.” Our tents here on earth are temporary. One day, in one way or another, your tent will be dismantled. Your life will be over. Then what?
Jesus had a tent for a time. God sent His Son to this earth to live for a time as a tent among a world of confused and needy tents. As Israelites backpacked through the wilderness of the Sinai desert, God designed for Himself a special tent called the Tabernacle where He would meet His people. The Apostle John, led by the Holy Spirit, wrote that Jesus literally “tabernacled” among us (John 1:14). Jesus was God with Us for a brief time in His own tent of flesh.
As awesome as it would have been to hear, see, and touch the tent that housed the Savior, we have something even better. When Jesus allowed His tent to be nailed to a cross, He opened up a new reality. This tent-life is not the end, but a brief opportunity to put our trust in Jesus and know the promise of a new home, “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Jesus now lives in your tent.
As believers, we do not need to fear the storms of this life or the endless attacks on our peace. We have a glorified body waiting. Just like Paul, we can be assured that the worst thing that could happen to us (death) is nothing worse than pulling down our make-shift tent. We will not be without a home and our new home will be indestructibly grand.
As the story goes, an old Scottish Christian objected to young John Paton’s plan to go as a missionary to the South Sea Islands. “You’ll be eaten by cannibals,” he said. To which Paton responded: “Mr. Dickson, you are advanced in years now, and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or worms; and in the Great Day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.”
Pray: Father God, sometimes I feel like the way others view my tent, or even the way I perceive it, is more important than how You see and know me. Father, forgive me. Sometimes I act like life in this tent will go on indefinitely, and that I don’t recognize the urgency to help the hurting or tell others about Your goodness. Father, forgive me. Today, in your grace, Lord, give me a willing spirit to use the moments You give me in this body-tent to impact others for the good of Your Kingdom, to declare Your excellent name, and to glorify Your Son. Amen.
First Baptist Broken Arrow