“For we know that if our earthly dwelling, a tent, should be destroyed, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal in heaven. For in this tent we groan, longing to be further clothed with our heavenly habitation if indeed, when we have taken it off, we shall not be found naked. For while we are in this tent we groan and are weighed down, because we
do not wish to be unclothed but to be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a first installment. So we are always courageous, although we know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yet we are courageous, and we would rather leave the body and go home to the Lord. Therefore, we aspire to please him, whether we are at home or away. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive recompense, according to what he did in the body, whether good or evil.” ~2 Corinthians 5: 1-10 (NABRE)
Many people like to go camping. They get excited about going out into the middle of the woods, pitching a tent, and living right next to a happy little creek for a few days. I am not one of those people. I have grown too used to the comforts of my life. I work very hard to keep the bugs out of my house; I am not going to pitch a tent and sleep next to them for a week. Most people, though, know that this experience is just temporary and then they get to return to their home with all of the modern conveniences they can desire.
This experience of going out camping, but being able to return home, is the image that I get in my head when I read Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. Think about it, God knew us before we were born. Then we spend time down here, but in the end we get to return to Him. Here on earth, we’re just camping. This shelter is just temporary and is not meant to house us for all time. There will be an end to this camping trip and we’ll be able to go home and be with the Lord. That’s really where we want to be. There are many days when we’re sitting in our tent, the rain is pouring down, the ants have crawled all over our food, and you feel like you are wearing the forest floor on your body… and the only thing keeping us going is that this will end and we can go home where we can peel off all of our dirty clothing, take a nice long shower, and curl up in a soft, warm bed.
The only thing is that in the camping scenario we KNOW that we can go home and take a hot shower. In real life, if we don’t be moral and live a Christ-like life, then there’s no guarantee that we’ll be able to cross the threshold of our heavenly home. If we aren’t careful we could get done with our camping trip, arrive at the door of our house, and find out that we’ve been evicted. What must we do? Again, we must be moral, love one another, and lead a Christ-like life so that we can gain entry to the house of the Lord. Do we have to be perfect? No. God knows that we aren’t perfect, but that’s why he extends his love and mercy to all of us. Ask and it shall be given. Be truly contrite and humble, ask for forgiveness and He will forgive you.
That’s why we have to walk by faith. There is nothing that will prove to you 100% beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a God and you will be with him after you’re done here on this earth. We can read, pray and believe, but it all boils down to faith. Do you have faith? This doesn’t mean that you don’t have questions. Ask God your questions. Have a conversation with Him. Only then will you be strong enough to truly walk by faith with your head held high no matter what anybody else says. And remember, no matter what, God loves you.