While we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened. 2 Corinthians 5:4
“The tent is tired!” Those were the words of my friend Paul, who pastors a church in Nairobi, Kenya. Since 2015, the congregation has worshiped in a tentlike structure. Now, Paul writes, “Our tent is worn out and it is leaking when it rains.”
My friend’s words about their tent’s structural weaknesses remind us of the apostle Paul’s words regarding the frailty of our human existence. “Outwardly we are wasting away . . . . While we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened” (2 Corinthians 4:16; 5:4).
Though the awareness of our fragile human existence happens relatively early in life, we become more conscious of it as we age. Indeed, time picks our pockets. The vitality of youth surrenders reluctantly to the reality of aging (see Ecclesiastes 12:1–7). Our bodies—our tents—get tired.
But tired tents need not equate to tired trust. Hope and heart needn’t fade as we age. “Therefore we do not lose heart,” the apostle says (2 Corinthians 4:16). The One who has made our bodies has made Himself at home there through His Spirit. And when this body can no longer serve us, we’ll have a dwelling not subject to breaks and aches—we’ll “have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven” (5:1).
How does it make you feel that Christ resides in you by His Spirit (5:5)? When you find yourself “groaning,” how does prayer help you?
Father, thank You for Your continual presence. When I’m physically uncomfortable, help me to trust You even as I anticipate an eternal dwelling that will last forever.
The apostle Paul wrote four letters to the believers in Jesus at Corinth. The books known as 1 and 2 Corinthians are the second and fourth letters he wrote to the house churches there. Commenting on the background of 2 Corinthians, William Baker states: “Despite the fact that the earliest converts were Jewish (according to Acts 18:4–8), none of the issues Paul addresses in the letter appear to stem from Jewish-Christian controversies. Rather, all the issues derive from the Corinthian culture and society in which they lived.” Paul addressed issues that focused on what it means to live for Jesus within one’s own culture. He compared what Corinthian society did with how believers in Christ should live (see 1 Corinthians 6:12–13).