Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Camping (07/11/05)
- TITLE: The Spiritual Life Is Like A Camping Experience
By Doug Laird
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Camping is one of the highlights of the Scouting experience where one learns and experiences the laws of nature, teamwork as well as self-reliance skills..
As a Dad, I can recall many happy times when our children were young and we did the “family camping thing” with them. Camping brings to mind a period of family life when the raising of kids was mostly enjoyable without all that the teenaged years inevitably bring.
Perhaps one of the greatest laughs that our family camping experience brings to mind is when we reminisce about the time that my wife, our kids, and I were camping in a tent.
In the middle of the night, my wife thought she heard an animal outside of the tent door. She lighted a lantern and brought it to the door of the tent. She passed it back and forth in an attempt to see what it was that she claimed was looking in at us, although no one else heard or saw anything.
We never did find out what it was that she had seen, but what my wife did accomplish was to burn a hole a square foot large in the mosquito netting on the door flap!
We were never bothered by whatever it was that my wife had seen, but within a very short period of time, we were under attack by every mosquito in the woods that night. To me, it seemed to be something like the ancient Egyptians went through with the plague of the gnats.
After trying to endure the relentless buzzing of the mosquitoes in our ears, some of us were eventually driven from the tent and forced to spend the rest of the night attempting to get some sleep in our car that was parked nearby. It ruined the night’s sleep, but still gets some laughs when the memory is relived from time to time.
The kids are all adults now and my wife and I recently purchased one of those pop-up tent trailers. Not being a “people person” myself, the quietness that camping offers is still an enjoyable experience, but I must confess it seems to be a lot more work than it used to be.
The uniqueness of a tent as a dwelling place is that it can be taken down and relocated rather quickly, but yet it can provide all of the shelter that its inhabitants require just as if it were a more permanent structure.
The ancient Hebrews lived in tents during the wandering years in the wilderness. The wilderness was not their final resting place nor was it their ultimate destination. They were wanderers living in dwellings that were suitable for their needs, while they looked forward to a time when much greater dwellings would be theirs to enjoy in a place that God has prepared for them.
Their camp was set up and moved according to the instructions they received from God. When the cloud or pillar of fire moved, they moved. When the pillar or cloud remained in one spot, so did they.
During that time, it was a tent that the Lord instructed Moses to build and it was always set up in the center of the camp. Being where God wants us to be and keeping God and the things of God in the center of our lives are key elements of the spiritual life and will result in us being happy campers.
Successful camping trips require good planning and preparation. It requires shelter, supplies, food, water, equipment, leadership, a map, and safety in regards to one’s awareness of his/her environment. Neglecting any of these essentials can lead to disaster.
The spiritual life requires much the same. The difference is that we do not focus on being self-reliant. In the spiritual realm, we must learn to totally rely on God (John 15: 5).
During the post-salvation spirit life, we are like nomads traveling though this Earth in our earthly tents in preparation for the day when we leave and enter into the residency of our Heavenly home.
For the mature believer, the prospect of leaving our earthly tent behind and having it raised up again in resurrection form is an event that is not feared, but rather anticipated and desired.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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