My father-in-law went to be with the Lord last Sunday after a three year battle with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. God’s timing was perfect. The family was called back to say its goodbyes and we arrived less than twelve hours before he passed. We were all with George when he took his final breath at 4:35 a.m. and as we looked at the lifeless shell remaining, I kept thinking about the Apostle Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:1-5: “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. Meanwhile, we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
George experienced the hope that faith in Jesus Christ gives us. He had left his earthly tent behind and his spirit was now present with the Lord and other family members who had gone before him. It was a comforting thought as we would miss him in this life. There was a peacefulness surrounding him as he made that journey, leaving the burdens of dementia behind so he could be restored in heaven.
Psalm 90 teaches us to “number our days” so that we “may gain a heart of wisdom.” We must all live each day with the Lord guiding our steps so that when it is time to fold our earthly tents, there will be no regrets. Our tents are fragile. God gives us no guarantees for a long life on this earth, just a guarantee for a place with him in heaven, if we believe. What we do while in the body has eternal consequences, not just for us but for those around us.
What are you doing while residing in your earthly tent? Is your tent full of blessings and gifts to be handed out or is it dirty and cluttered, piled up with worldly things? Is your tent pure and holy or are you hiding secrets in your tent? Is there love for others in your tent or do you harbor resentment and discontent? The good news is through the power of Christ, you don’t have to clean your tent yourself. All you have to do is ask Jesus to do it for you.