Devotional of the week: Our flimsy tent (9 in Pilgrim series)

Photo: Michael Pollock, flickr

Photo: Michael Pollock, flickr

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. (2 Corinthians 5:1–4)

When growing up, I would go on a yearly wilderness canoe trip in northern Minnesota. We would eschew plumbing and comfortable beds for the wonders of being close to nature. So close that just a flimsy tent would be between us and the outside world. Most nights we would sleep well, if somewhat cramped, a cool breeze wafting through the screen. But one night stands out in my memory: the rains felt like floods and our tent’s walls became saturated with water. Droplet after droplet came in, soaking our sleeping bags and making us miserable. We wondered if the night would ever end.

Tents are flimsy things, and necessarily so. For who would want to haul bulky boards and nails on a long portage? So too our bodies, as the Apostle Paul says in his letter to the Corinthians. But our culture resists Paul’s words, with its ever more invasive forms of plastic surgery to stave off aging. Or the latest miracle cream to reduce wrinkles. Or the latest gadget or fast car or trophy wife. But Paul speaks of the eternal realities under which we live.

Our hope is in heaven, when we will enjoy a dwelling made with the best building materials, which will never leak, rot, get moldy or break. We won’t need Botox or surgery or exorbitantly expensive face creams – or the latest Ferrari or yacht or smartphone. None of that will matter – it will be “swallowed up” – as we embrace true living. Come, Lord Jesus!

Prayer: Lord, we want not to be overly concerned with our earthly tent. Help us to focus on what truly matters.

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