I loathe camping.
Hard, stony ground poking through the flimsy mat. Mildewy sleeping bags, broken zippers, freezing cold.
Putrid outhouses, countless buzzing bizzing flies, mosquito bites on the bum.
Campfire smoke smell permeating sweatshirts and socks, hair and skin. Hot on one side, frozen on the other.
Bathing in an icy stream, soap sticks to goose-bumped skin, and giant flies taking aim at tender spots. Only momentary refreshment as curls of smoke circle up uninvited.
Drifting pine needles and kicked-up grit season pan seared steaks sizzling over the open fire.
Camping. Come and experience Creation in the great out of doors! Starry, starry nights, high above and far away from suburbia’s monotony, the roar of water tumbling from a mountain top, a tranquil pool sparkling with the flash of a Rainbow Trout, the pure mountain air all promise (and admittedly deliver) respite and repose. Put on your hiking boots, heave-ho the 50 pound pack on your back (don’t forget the tent), it’ll take three days and a lot of straight up the mountain trudging to reach solitude and beauty.
I need to say, my fondest and least favorite childhood memories involve tents. So, I write from experience. Camping, in my humble opinion, is a lot like life in the now.
“For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” (II Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT).
Somehow our King uses the irritations, trials, affliction of life to create something of far greater value. We must stop and peer beyond the dirty window. Fix our gaze on things which cannot be seen.
“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands” (II Corinthians 5:1, NLT).
Here’s what Jesus promises in the not yet: “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:1-3).
He wants us with Him! How amazing is that?
Important Note: He’s not preparing a TENT, but a home.