When I was a young bloke, I loved camping. Getting away from ‘the Big Smoke’ with my flimsy little tent, and the most basic of equipment and supplies was always fun.
I camped on the surf beaches, I camped in the hills, I camped in the outback, and I camped by the Murray River, a particular favourite to this day.
It was always pretty rough-and-ready camping. No comfy bed, no showers, no kitchen table, no fridge, no electronic devices, not even toilet facilities. Ahh, such fond memories.
There’s a relatively recent phenomenon known as ‘Glamping’ – glamorous camping. It blends some of the benefits of traditional camping – beautiful locations, low impact on the environment – with some of the mod-cons of home – spacious, large comfy bed, maybe even an air-conditioner.
When glamping, you’ll be under the shelter of a very large and solid tent, often a yurt. Chances are, you’ll be the only people there. And the view is almost guaranteed to be spectacular.
But whether camping or glamping, there are drawbacks. Living in a tent will never be as comfortable or secure or safe as living in your own home. You’re away from familiar environments, separated from the people you know and love, with limited protection from the elements, and limited access to all the conveniences of modern life that we enjoy without even thinking about them.
Not entirely unlike living in this earthly body…
In 1Cor 15:35-49, the apostle Paul tells us a little about what our resurrection bodies will be like, comparing them to our earthly bodies.
He tells us at least 3 things:
- There will be continuity.
- There will be difference.
- There will be improvement.
Firstly, he compares our earthly bodies with a grain of wheat. When that grain is planted, it springs up into more wheat – not into oranges, or lettuce, or cucumbers. It grows up into the same kind of thing.
But not entirely the same. It doesn’t become a grain of wheat, but it grows into a stalk of wheat. Still recognisably the same, but different.
And that stalk of wheat is better – more glorious – than the grain. It looks more attractive, and it carries more nourishment than the single grain.
It’s a simple analogy, but helpful for us to understand what we will one day become – assuming, of course, that we have put our trust in Jesus Christ.
There must be this change. Our bodies are not designed to live in the full, furious, blazing glory and holiness of the living God. They would be consumed in an instant – ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
For our current bodies are perishable, dishonourable, weak and natural. We feel it every day. Sickness, weariness, hunger, thirst, frustration, temptation – and finally, death.
But the Lord promises that when we put our trust in Him, He will change these bodies into new, improved versions of them. He will make our bodies imperishable, glorious, powerful, spiritual – and everlasting [see 1Cor 15:42-44].
Our new bodies will be able stand in God’s presence safely. His glory won’t ‘leak out of us’ like it did for Moses. They will be better by far.
In 2Cor 4:16-5:5, Paul talks about our bodies as tents, wasting away, transient, tents in which we groan, longing for something better.
That better accommodation will be the house, the heavenly dwelling, that God is preparing for us this very moment. I’m convinced that is the dwelling place – the mansion, to use King James language – that Jesus refers to in Jn 14:1-3.
I don’t know about you, but I sure do long for that new dwelling. This tent is wearing out quicker than I’d like. But I know that my Lord is preparing something better for me.
So I have no fear of the future. I have no fear of sickness. I have no fear of opposition. I “do not fear those who kill the body” [Matt 10:28]. For I know Him who will one day save it and restore it and make it better than ever before. … for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” [Heb 13:5-6].