Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven … Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling … For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling… 2 Corinthians 5:1-4
Paul described his life as living in a tent because his longing was for his heavenly dwelling. Today however, we seem to get so comfortable with our “tent” (verse 4) that we forget it’s only temporary. The familiar gives us a sense of security. Our wellbeing is often connected to our routines which make us feel comfortable. Yet God sees the things of earth as temporary and passing away.
I actually don’t like camping. I like hot and cold running water, flushing toilets, soft beds, and a roof. I don’t understand why people forgo these pleasures and call it a holiday! A tent speaks so much of something transitory. It has no foundations, no permanence, and generally living in a tent is short term. From God’s perspective, our time on earth is short term. Eternity is a lot longer than the 70 or 80 or 90 years we expect to spend on planet earth. What we see is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. This knowledge enabled Paul to make amazing sacrifices and kept him going in the midst of immense opposition.
When we consider we are mere tent dwellers it affects our attitude to things on earth. Minor irritations are easier to overlook, disappointments don’t devastate us, and setbacks aren’t overwhelming. Our priorities are changed. People’s eternal futures become more important than our temporary accomplishments.