For 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.
2 Corinthians 5:1
Patty Duke died yesterday. (Tweet That!) Our earthly tents–my old house and hers–were the same age.
God willing, I’ll enter the decade of the 70s soon … not the 1970s … my 70s. (Tweet That!)
How in the world did this happen? Where was I as 70 years whizzed by?
I may not remember all the years, but I feel them. (Tweet That!) At times I catch myself hunched over and limping–or sitting down in an easy chair with a whew like my grandmother.
Gone are the days when I hopped from chairs and skittered across rooms, folded myself over to tend a baby on the floor, or sat with my legs bent backwards, playing Solitaire. Nowadays I rise from my bed with a hand at my back. I have no choice but to carve out time for stretching. Four foot surgeries have left me with an altered gait, and after three hand surgeries my fingers catch and pop. I’m three inches shorter and sixty pounds heavier than when I was sixteen.
Knowing I’m not alone lifts my spirits. (Tweet That!) Paul the Apostle describes aging somewhat as I would:
Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead 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 …
2 Corinthians 5:2-4a
A Christian, groaning? I’ll say. Sometimes even with medication, groaning is about all I can do.
A Christian, burdened? Oh yes, some days, more so than others–like those times when a shroud of depression takes hold of me, blocks every ray of light, weighs me down. I’m burdened–with disappointment, disillusionment, and discouragement. I remember squandered opportunities and affections, both past and present. Trauma. And sin. My heart breaks under the weight of regrets that threaten to swallow me up.
Fortunately, Paul doesn’t stop at groans and burdens. He inserts purpose and promise: (Tweet That!)
… but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
2 Corinthians 5:4b-5
This old house once knew my children
This old house once knew my wife
This old house was home and shelter as we fought the storms of life
This old house once rang with laughter
This old house heard many shouts
Now she trembles in the darkness when the lightnin’ walks about
This old house is getting shaky
This old house is getting old
This old house lets in the rain and
This old house lets in the cold
On my knees I’m getting chilly
But I feel no fear or pain
‘Cause I see an angel peeking through
A broken window pane
Ain’t gonna need this house no longer
Ain’t gonna need this house no more
Ain’t got time to fix the shingles
Ain’t got time to fix the floor
Ain’t got time to oil the hinges
Nor to mend the window pane
Ain’t gonna need this house no longer
I’m getting ready to meet the saints
In the Book of 2 Timothy, Paul offers further hope:
… the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8
As comforting as it is to know I’m not alone … and as hopeful as I feel when I read of a heavenly home, I sometimes feel guilty just for feeling guilty, for being depressed, for regretting. Aren’t I a daughter of the King of Heaven? Isn’t He preparing a home for me? What in the world do I have to be depressed about? What’s wrong with me?
The guilt over depression is enough to … well, to send a person into depression. (Tweet That!)
But then I remember a phrase tucked away in Paul’s fourth chapter of 2 Corinthians, words easily overlooked that stear me in the right direction: … so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God. (Tweet That!)
Why am I burdened? Why do I groan? Because I’m mortal. God intends my mortality for a purpose. (Tweet That!) I don’t understand it, nor do I like it most days. But, unlike Hamblin’s old house that’s destined for nothing but decay, my body may be falling apart, but–because of Jesus–I’m destined for life! (Tweet That!) Such a promise carries me through periods of depression. Such life is worth the wait. For Jesus’ sake.
Thank you, Lord, that our mortality will be swallowed up by life one day! Because Jesus lives! Hallelujah!