Of tents and trials

2 Corinthians 5:1-4

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.  For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life.

-Elna-

Right now, our lives are pretty easy. We are excited about our decision to go to the mission field, the work involved and the challenges we are facing. Our proverbial little tent is pitched right next to a quiet stream, with new friends caring for us, and friends and family back home praying for us (and even sending sweet gifts already)!

But we are surrounded by people who are having their tents shaken by strong winds. In South Africa, fires have destroyed earthly homes and people have been displaced and injured, and lives have been lost. Precious friends and family are facing illness. Here in our adoptive church, families are suffering as children, fathers and mothers are battling with cancer. So while our own tent is stable for now, it seems the wind whirling around us has blown open a flap and we’ve been given a glimpse of a stormy sky outside.

How are believers to face these trials?

2 Corinthians 5:5-8

Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge. Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord – for we walk by faith, not by sight – we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.

Our trials are not random. They are given to each of us, to remind us that our earthly lives are just temporary and to encourage our longing for heaven. We will one day leave this tent dwelling behind and join our Father in a heavenly home. Some are just given a ‘heads up’ and for them it seems all the more real that tomorrow, they might wake up in glory, home with the Lord! So we are to be of good courage! We suffer with hope.

Trials serve another purpose: they give us the opportunity to please Him.

2 Corinthians 5:9

Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.

Trial or no trial, on earth and in heaven, our goal remains the same. May we have aim to glorify Him all the more – when camping out next to a tranquil stream and when we are surrounded by threatening winds.