Our Time in a Tent
by Matt Smith
Have you ever spent much time in a tent? As an outdoor enthusiast, I have spent my fair share of time in various sizes of tents and a variety of situations. On a positive note, I can picture clear cool (but not cold) nights with dry sleeping bags/clothes that led to a good night’s sleep in a tent. On the other hand, I can remember some rather nightmarish occasions spent in a tent. One night stands out in particular in which a heavy rainstorm literally collapsed the tent that I was in due to the water collecting on the roof to such a point that it collapsed one of the poles, leading us to spend the rest of the night trying to sleep in a car.
Either way, and even including those good experiences in a tent, my first night back at home in my own bed with a nice soft mattress and climate-controlled conditions leads me to wonder why I would ever want to sleep in a tent again. Our lunch under the tent at church yesterday is another good example as to the temporary nature of a tent. Even if the weather conditions had been ideal, the tent was still designed for a few hours of use, nothing more.
In a similar matter, Paul refers to our physical bodies as tents. In 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 Paul writes, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle (tent) were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” He goes on to say with expectation the hope that one day, when we are absent from our body (tent), we will be present with the Lord because we “walk by faith, not by sight.”
This passage of Scripture is a reminder for us today of the temporary nature of our lives and that we need to constantly remind ourselves to invest in things that will matter for eternity. So often we allow ourselves to get bogged down in the affairs of this life, even though we know our life is “a vapour, that appeareth for a little time.” (James 4:14) It should also cause us to look forward with excitement to the time when we will trade in these temporary, often sickly bodies/tents and instead receive our heavenly bodies, which will last for all of eternity.