Summary: Paul compares our bodies to tents, a familiar image for soldiers who yearn for homecoming.
Our Lord Jesus assured His disciples that this eternal structure was in the process of being built. In John’s Gospel, chapter 14, He offers these comforting words: “In My Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you.” There’s plenty of room; in the meantime, Jesus is preparing us and getting our room ready.
When soldiers are on maneuvers, what do they talk about? They talk about how they can’t wait to get back home; how glad they’ll be to get back to the “real world”. The misery and hardships troops endure make homecoming all the more sweet. Our problem is that we often think the tent we’re living in is the real world—it’s not. What we are experiencing is but a shadow of reality. We hope to move from the shadowlands of life some day to encounter Reality is all its fullness.
God offers the confident assurance that when our earthly existence is over, we will leave our tents and dwell forever in our permanent home. This life is the only life we’ve known, but there’s another life coming. Death is merely a transition in life, like getting orders for a new assignment. We who remain are left with sorrow, but we find comfort in the certainty of reunion and rest. We who are remain, grieve--but with hope. To be absent from the body--this temporary tent--is to be at home with the Lord.
May God’s promises be the measure of our hope and expectations.
Prayer: God Almighty, we close this brief service with hope in Your promise and faith in Your ability to transform us. We are not overwhelmed by loss or drowning in hopelessness. Nonetheless, we seek Your strength in the coming days as we struggle to deal with what has happened, and we know You will walk with us. We trust You even though we don’t understand fully Your timing or purpose. We know You love us and we thank You for the gift of life and the promise of life eternal through Your Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus, in Whose Name we pray, Amen.