Summary: Today, we look to our future with hope and with courage because we know that Christ our Savior will lead us safely on our journey from earthly tent to heavenly home when our time comes … just as He has done for Guy and for all the saints who love Him.
In his second letter to his friends in the city of Corinth, Paul described these physical bodies that we live in as “earthly tents” … something that Paul would know a lot about. One of the ways that Paul supported himself and his ministry was by making and repairing tents. They didn’t have sewing machines back then so every tent had to be slowly and patiently sewn together by hand … one stitch at a time … which meant that Paul probably had a lot of time to sit and think as he worked.
I picture him sitting there, thinking about the couple or the family who would live in the home that he was making. He would picture them, warm and safe. He’d picture the meals that they would share around the fire, talking about their day. He would think about the love that would be made, the arguments that would be waged, the children who would be born … children who would grow up in the very tent that he was making and then start a family of their own under their own tent.
As he made the flaps for the front door, he would imagine the people living in the tent going out to face the day and then coming back through them at the end of the day to the warmth and safety of their home and family. He would imagine the friends who would pass through those flaps and share a meal or possibly spend the night or had come to comfort the family when someone had passed away or a disaster had hit the family.
As he fashioned the holes for the tent poles and tent pegs, he would try to imagine all the places that his tent would go. He would picture the tent that he made pitched by a cool stream or under whispering pines, maybe in the middle of a green meadow filled with spring flowers, providing shelter and protection in a savage and unforgiving wilderness.
As he looks over at the pile of tents that need repair, he thinks about all the weather and constant use and abuse that his tent will go through and how it will need to be patched and repaired many times until one day it can no longer be fixed and will have to be recycled into something else … rags maybe … or a tarp used to cover a wagon or hay in the field.
And then he thinks about Psalm 139 and he pictures God patiently stitching together the earthly tent that his spirt, his soul would call home for 60 years.
Sometime in April of 1932, God took some DNA from Paul Russell Mathews and some DNA from Lola Cothran Mathews and He began to knit together a life that would become known as Guy Samuel Mathews. As He created Guy’s eyes, God would picture the sights that Guy would see … the tears of joy and laughter … the tears of grief and pain that those eyes would shed. When he formed Guy’s mouth, He thought about the words that guy would speak … some in love, some in anger. He thought about the lips and eyes and cheeks that Guy’s lips would kiss … the food that Guy’s tongue would taste … all the stories and all the truth and lies that Guy would tell … all the prayers that those lips would pray. As He molded Guy’s ears to the side of his head, God would think about all the words that Guy’s ears would hear … some spoken in love, some spoken in anger.
As He made Guy’s hands, He thought about all the things that Guy’s hands would build and fix … all the tools that those hands would hold … all the weeds that those hands would pull … all the tears those hands would wipe away … and all the hands of loved ones those hands would hold. As He put the muscles on Guy’s arm, God thought about all the people those arms would hug, all the loads that those arms would carry.
When He made Guy’s legs and feet, He thought about all the places that they would carry Guy to … from his home here in Canton out into the world and then back home again here in Canton.
When God made Guy’s heart, God knew exactly how many beats that heart would beat. He also knew the joy that it would feel, the excitement, the love, the peace, the fear, the anger, the rage.
And then He made Guy’s crowning glory … his mind. God knew all the thoughts that Guy was going to have, all the wonder that he would experience, all the problems that Guy would solve with that mind … the lofty thoughts, the unique thoughts, the beautiful thoughts, the dark thoughts, the bored thoughts, the lonely thoughts … and all the doubts and fears that would haunt it.