O, Mr. Tentmaker
It was nice living in this tent when it was strong and secure
and the sun was shining and the air was warm.
But Mr. Tentmaker, it’s scary now.
You see, my tent is acting like it’s not going to hold together;
the poles seem weak and they shift with the wind.
A couple of the stakes have wiggled loose from the sand;
and worst of all, the canvas has a rip.
It no longer protects me from the beating rain or stinging fly.
It’s scary in here, Mr. Tentmaker.
Last week I went to the repair shop and some repairman
tried to patch a rip in my canvas.
It didn’t help much though, because the patch pulled
away from the edges and now the tear is worse.
What troubled me most, Mr. Tentmaker, is that
the repairman didn’t even seem to notice that
I was still in the tent;
he just worked on the canvas while I shivered inside.
I cried out once, but no one heard me.
I guess my first real question is: Why did you give me such a flimsy tent?
I can see by looking around the campground that some
of the tents are much stronger and more stable than mine.
Why, Mr. Tentmaker, did you pick a tent of
such poor quality for me?
And even more important, what do you intend to do about it?
O, little tent dweller, as the Creator and Provider of tents
I know all about you and your tent, and I love you both.
I made a tent for Myself once and
I lived in it on your campground.
My tent was vulnerable, too, and some vicious attackers
ripped it to pieces while I was still in it.
It was a terrible experience, but you will be glad to know
they couldn’t hurt Me;
in fact, the whole occurrence was a tremendous advantage
because it is this very victory over My enemy that
frees me to be a present help to you.
O, little tent dweller, I am now prepared to come and
live in your tent with you
if you’ll invite Me.
You’ll learn that as we dwell together that real security comes from
My being in the tent with you.
When the storms come, you can huddle in my arms
and I’ll hold you.
When the canvas rips, we’ll go to the repair shop together.
Some day, little tent dweller, some day
your tent is going to collapse;
you see, I’ve designed it for temporary use.
But when it does, you and I are going to leave together.
I promise not to leave before you do.
And then free of all that would hinder or restrict,
we will move to our permanent home together, forever,
we will rejoice and be glad.
Think about it…Jesus, the very Son of God, took on an earthly “tent” in order to identify with us who live in bodies which fall apart and wear out.
“The Word became ·a human [T flesh] and lived [made his home; pitched his tabernacle; C God’s glorious presence dwelt in Israel’s tabernacle in the wilderness] among us.” John 1:14 (Expanded Bible)
But Jesus’ tent didn’t just fall apart or wear out, it was ripped apart while He was still in it. Whatever physical ailments we or our loved ones are facing–however poorly our tents seem to be holding up…Jesus understands And to all of us who are Christ-followers, He promises to live inside our tents and to one day come and take us to a new Home which will never decay.
“For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Corinthians 5:1 New American Standard Bible
Today marks four years since my mother, a two-time cancer survivor, left her earthly tent at the age of 82. The last non-relative to visit with her was a 97-year-old woman named Ruth, who lived at the same assisted living residence. The two were lifelong attendees of the same church and had enjoyed many Bible studies and women’s groups together.
Ruth sat on a chair near my mom’s bed and they held weathered hands, reminisced about decades of friendship, and giggled like school girls. I heard my mom tell Ruth: “Lynn just reminded me that we get new bodies when we get to Heaven.”
Ruth giggled again and replied; “Oh, won’t that be wonderful!”
Two days later my mom passed away and two months later, right after turning 98, Ruth’s earthly tent wore out too. I can only imagine them clasping hands once again and rejoicing together in Heaven!
I guarantee you that each of us is either going to wear out or fall apart one day. Aren’t you glad that these earthly tents are not our real home?
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