I distinctly remember the last time my family and I went tent camping…and why we never did again after that experience.
It was the summer of 1983 and my pastor-husband convinced me that it would be fun for our daughters and me to join him on the youth group camping trip. So I packed up everything required for the overnight stay at a nearby state park and we borrowed two small tents.
Did I mention that our girls were 5, 3 and 15 months?
Fortunately, we got everyone to sleep–Ralph in one tent with our 3-year-old and me in the other with the baby and our oldest. But it wasn’t long before I heard my husband calling out to me from his nearby tent: “Stay really still–there’s a mother skunk and four babies heading toward your tent.”
I cautiously turned toward the tent wall and sure enough, there was a mommy skunk silhouette and four smaller shadows toddling behind. I held my breath as the critters walked so close their sides pressed against the canvas. Luckily, the skunk family kept moving without leaving behind any of their special brand of perfume and I literally could exhale.
I thought the night’s excitement was over until a couple hours later a thunderstorm erupted and my husband’s tent starting leaking –waking up Bethany. My tent fared better, but the three of us had to scoot in really tight so as not to touch the soggy canvas walls.
We survived the rest of the night undisturbed by weather or wildlife, but I vowed never to take three little kids tent camping again and I happily have kept that promise.
So how is your tent holding up? You know, that earthly dwelling we call our body.
“Unless you are in peak form and full of vigor, you have already experienced frustration with this earthly tent. If you haven’t yet, you will. It grows old and weary eventually, and then it dies,” writes author Chris Tiegreen.
I know many of you reading this are experiencing frustration with your earthly tent or your loved one’s. Maybe the storm already has hit and you’re wondering whether your tent is going to hold up. And perhaps you even can feel some “skunks” pressing up against as you dread the stench of more bad news.
And for some of you, the worst already has happened to someone you loved. Less than 24 hours ago, I got the news that another dear friend had taken her last earthly breath, just four years after receiving a cancer diagnosis.
I don’t know how any of us can face the storms and stink of this life without God’s great and precious promise: “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
These tents are definitely temporary dwellings and that’s why they rip, get dumped on and wear out. They are not our permanent residences.
“When hope in this life proves futile, when bodies ache and souls cry out, we can count on the glorious promise of resurrection,” Tiegreen adds. “There is an eternal house fitted just for us.”
I’m sure it will be the best Home ever and I doubt there will be any skunks!
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