Slightly Obsessed #059 "Beyond The Grave" (Weekly Devo) by Pamela Thorson on 2014-02-05 12:17:33
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
He pulled open the heavy mechanical door and it engaged, swinging wide. Inside, the usual nursing home smells met him as he made his way to his mother’s room. It was darkened. The curtains were pulled, and a deep silence shut out the sounds in the hall.
She was nearly ninety-one years old. The wreath of white hair framing her frail face belied her fierce nature and the long battle she had waged to live. She appeared to be sleeping, but her gnarled fingers picked at her sweater as if to straighten it out across her swollen belly.
He stood for a moment, debating whether to awaken her. He decided against it. Instead he prayed a quiet prayer over her and tiptoed out of the room.
Less than an hour later, he received the call that she was dead.
Nearly two weeks ago, we buried my mother-in-law, remembering her life with tears and reminded that we never know what hour will be our last.
Most of us struggle as we come to terms with our mortality. Some of us dread suffering. Others are tormented by the fear that there is nothing beyond the grave.
The Apostle Paul was a tentmaker by trade. It was common for the nomadic people of the Middle East to live in tents at the time the New Testament was written. In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul uses the imagery of tents to help us understand the nature of the physical body and immortality.
Our bodies, Paul tells us, are tents, like those portable dwellings we take with us on trips. They are built for travel, so they are lightweight—at the expense of durability. They offer some shelter against the elements, but they can’t protect us against all threats.
We live in tents. But we are not the tent. We’re just using the shelter until we return home.
From the outside, the tent is the only thing we see. When we move on, we leave the shell behind. It can be burned or buried or preserved, but it is only what’s left of the flimsy dwelling we used while we were here. If I came across an empty tent in one of our beautiful national parks, I would just assume the owner was elsewhere. Not dead; just absent.
Living in a tent is not a comfortable existence.
Paul acknowledged that “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” (2 Corinthians 5:4). Because we have never seen anything other than the outward shell, we question and fear what lies beyond our physical bodies. Christ’s death and resurrection redeemed those who love Him from judgment, assuring us that death is not annihilation but a temporary separation. He is the great I AM, and we are made eternal in His image.
As long as you dwell in this tent, be encouraged that you are more than what is seen. In fact, you are.
The last enemy that will be abolished is death. -1 Corinthians 15:26
About Pamela Thorson:
Pamela Thorson is a licensed practical nurse, author, and full-time caregiver. She pioneered in the homeschooling movement from 1982-2006 and authored her first book, Song in the Night, in 2008. She resides in the Northwest with her family.
Slightly Obsessed #224: When the Pressure Feels Too Great
The fig I found in a local big box store had already been trimmed into a lovely miniature tree with an unusual trunk. Little did I understand what it takes to train a plant into a bonsai, and what that process would teach me about God.
Slightly Obsessed #223: Right Clothes, Wrong Spirit
Satan seeks to deceive us, divide us, and destroy us. His bag of tricks and sleight of hand are impressive but imaginary trapdoors to disillusionment. He constantly roams the earth in an insatiable search for humans to devour.
Slightly Obsessed #222: The Rain
Like the grass, the human heart has shallow roots and fades quickly in the dry season. But those shallow roots also are the first to taste the rain.
Slightly Obsessed #221: Are You Green and Sappy?
Being described as either green or sappy is not usually considered to be a compliment. But Irma lay claim to both, and it was her secret to a bountiful life.
Slightly Obsessed #220: We Only Have One Job
The Martha in us makes everything so hard, when the Lord is calling us to be Mary, running toward the sound of His voice; sitting in stillness at His feet; not wasting a moment of our time with Him in distracted busyness. Simply clinging to His every word.
Slightly Obsessed #219: When the Hedge Comes Down, Part 3
Job's soul had been stripped completely down to the dirt. His friends accused him; he defended himself vigorously. Lost in the cacophony was the voice of God. No one seemed to notice.
Except for one.