We know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God . . . (2 Corinthians 5:1)
The term "earthly tent" refers to our body, and when the time comes for it to be taken down, a more permanent dwelling is ready at hand. Paul's certainty about this hope makes him actually say "we have . . ."
This promise of "a house not made with hands" touches a deep need. When someone lies dying or has been lowered into the grave, we wonder, Do I really believe that there is life beyond this life? We may not know what this life beyond will be like, but with Paul we confess that we will exchange an earthly tent for something more permanent; different from what we imagine, but only because it will be so much grander.
In crime shows a detective may confront the criminal with a tape that contains enough evidence to put him away. The criminal sneers, grabs the tape, and crushes it. The detective smiles, "You stomp on it all you want: the original is safe in a vault in the bank."
Likewise, we say to death: "You stomp on us all you want: the original is safe in Christ with God." We say the best is yet to come, even when we're standing on the edge of the grave.
Prayer: Father, our dying frightens us. Take our hand, we pray. Amen.
Used with Permission.