There are perhaps a gazillion ways to illustrate temporary situations, for even the things we think of as permanent will pass away at some point in time. Babies quickly grow into childhood, then adulthood, and then they pass off the scene. The long weeks of recovery from a serious injury may feel like forever, but when the crutches are set aside at last, the swelling is gone, and the therapy is over, all the pain and misery is forgotten. Pregnancy is like that too. Baby teeth fall out and permanent teeth take their place, but sometimes even the permanent teeth have to be replaced. Meals that take hours to prepare are consumed in less than twenty minutes. We anticipate a special event for weeks, but in an hour or two it is reduced to a memory. Fireworks explode and vanish in the blink of an eye. Sunrises and sunsets, though they appear every day, last for but a few moments each time. Rain storms, even when they last for days, do eventually come to an end. Laughter turns to tears, and sadness to joy.
While I do have many photos of babies, children (even toothless ones), grandmas and grandpas, graveyards, smiling faces, rounded bellies of expectant mothers, laid-aside crutches, rainbows and fireworks, sunrises and sunsets, and plenty of delicious meals, there is something else entirely that I’d like to focus on today: temporary dwellings, and in particular, tents.
Our family loves the outdoors, and while we do sometimes stay in a motel while on vacation (especially when just passing through a place), and we have also stayed in resorts, there is nothing more fun than tenting. Of course, sleeping in a camper or cabin is nice too, but for now I’d like to recall some of the times we went tenting.
With the food prep area and clothes line protected from the rain, time to relax.
Both photos above were from a home school field trip to Kentucky. Three ladies, including myself, took a group of about twelve teens to see the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. Since we were close to Cincinnati, we also went there to see some other sights including the Harriet Tubman House. It rained every day that we were there, and the teens learned a very important lesson about not touching the sides of the tent while it’s raining, and about keeping the entire fly closed, even across the bottom! Let’s just say that the air mattress under the women’s (our) sleeping bags became a raft during the first night and was the only reason we stayed dry. The poor girls, who had the other side of the tent, spent the rest of the night in the van. But the flooded tent situation was temporary, because the next morning when the rain stopped, we bailed out the water and got everything as dry as possible. As you can see in the second photo, the young men did an excellent job of installing coverings for the cooking area and another area where we could hang our clothes and towels to dry.
Here is a tent of a different sort. This one helps to keep us cool in the Florida sun and dry in the Florida rain. On the left, we had just purchased the tent and set it up in the front yard, mostly to be sure my daughter and I could do it on our own, since she is my chief assistant at craft fairs and art shows. In the photo on the right, though still in Florida, that particular day was neither rainy nor hot. It was early fall, but a cold front had come through and we were thankful for every minute we got to spend in the direct sunlight.
By the way, here’s a short commercial break. If you would like a closer look at the things you see on display in the photo above, go on over to Etsy, where you’ll find Encore! Old Pianos. You can also view more photos and read stories about the art on my website.
This camper is parked at my brother-in-law Billy’s house, and we stay in it when we go up to New York to visit my husband’s family. This particular year, the boys wanted to sleep in their tent. I slept out there with them the first night. Though it was summer, the temperature dropped down to the 40s during the night, but they (we) had nice sleeping bags and stayed toasty warm all night long. If that looks like a lot of food, it is. 🙂 And it’s not the half. My husband comes from a large family.
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Many people in Bible days lived in tents, including Abraham and Sarah, their son Isaac, and their grandson Jacob, with their wives and children.
Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should later receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing where he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: for he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
God promised the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants, but he himself never took possession of it. He was a stranger, a traveler, until the day he died, as were his son and grandson after him. It would be four hundred years before his descendants would take possession of the promised land. Why? Because God was painting a picture for us.
All of us who know God as our Father are strangers and pilgrims in this world. We may have our name on a title to property, but in reality it all belongs to God, and we are His stewards. We are not here permanently, we are just passing through on our way to that heavenly city, whose builder and maker is God. Everything here is temporary. The only thing permanent is our soul, which will live somewhere forever.
John 14:1-3 Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.
I mentioned this verse last week, but it is just as appropriate this week. My “permanent address” is for a brick home, not a tent. But one day this brick home will no longer be my home, and one day it will be gone. The home Jesus is preparing for me in heaven, that home is permanent.
Where is your permanent address?
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Photos taken in Upstate NY 2006; Petersburg, KY 2010; Milton, FL 2017; and Fort Walton Beach, FL 2017