Easter: Getting ready for home!


Chuck Tabor - Contributing columnist



I know that in Ohio spring may have finally sprung, but here in Florida, we have been enjoying spring weather for quite a while.

But with the spring weather, the thoughts of many have moved quickly into an attitude of summer thinking and activity. It really does not matter what activity you enjoy – whether gardening or golf – the warm weather brings about a marvelous excitement for the spring and the summer months. That first time out on the course or that first effort at getting your hands dirty in the garden both re-kindle a hope that this summer will allow us to enjoy our favorite pastimes and hobbies. The anticipation for that is what drives the moment.

In the same vein, watching the NCAA March madness experience and enjoying the performance of whichever team you happen to root on to victory (What happened to the Buckeyes?) has reconnected the fervor and the excitement for that tournament as well. I know it is now history, but the first day of summer baseball has the same effect!

Oh, and by the way, spring brings with it the anticipation of mowing the lawn all summer long, of completing the tax preparations and many other springtime events.

One author, Paul David Tripp, in Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It, points out that some activities, indeed for him it is wilderness camping, have an unexpected anticipation of better and greater things built right into the very event. He states that the Bible says that the impermanence of life on earth is like dwelling in tents.

Tripp writes: “Most of us have no pilgrim experience, so perhaps the closest thing in our experience to the journey of a pilgrim is rustic camping. I am persuaded that the whole purpose of camping is to make a person long for home! On that first day in the woods, putting up the tent is exciting, but three days later your tent has unpleasant odors you can’t explain. You love the taste of food cooked over an open flame (that’s ash!), but three days later you are tired of foraging for wood and irritated by how fast it burns. You were excited at the prospect of catching your dinner from the stream running past your campsite, which is reported to be teeming with trout, but all you have snagged are the roots on the bottom.

“You’re now four days in and your back hurts, there seems to be no more felled wood to forage, and you’re tired of keeping the fire going anyway.

“You look into what was once an ice-and-food-filled cooler to see the family-sized steaks you have reserved floating gray and oozing in a pool of blood-stained water. Suddenly you begin to think fondly of home …. You stand there hoping that someone will break the silence and say, ‘Why don’t we go home?’ Your four days in the wilderness have accomplished their mission. They have prepared you to appreciate home!”

Having experienced myself the joys of wilderness camping and hiking down (and up!) those long and narrow root- and rock-infested trails, I can indeed vouch for the truthfulness of Tripp’s comments.

In talking with a friend, now retired, who regularly made around-the-world trips for his company during his working years, he made the comment about how nice it was to visit other countries.

But he said, “After you’ve been staying in hotels and living out of a suitcase for weeks on end, there absolutely is no place like home!” Tripp adds: “Our world isn’t a very good amusement park. No, it’s a broken place groaning for redemption. Here is meant to make us long for forever. Here is meant to prepare us for eternity.”

In anticipation of the Easter season, that is one of the great benefits of having a Savior who has been raised from the dead. We are told in the Scriptures that because Christ was raised from the dead, those who trust Him and follow Him can be guaranteed that indeed they too will be raised from the dead. This resurrection hope is one of the primary benefits of the Easter event! (Check out Romans 8:11 and 1 Corinthians 15:12-14)

As I recall from my own camping and hiking experiences, there is no place like home. The joys of walking through the beautiful manifestations of God’s creative handiwork, the hardships of working through the individual problems and obstacles faced in doing so, and the willingness to wait upon others in the process – all of these pale in comparison with the fact that soon we will be back home.

My friends, what this life has to offer is like a stale-smelling tent after three days of camping in comparison with the warmth and the comfort of heaven. Easter is the celebration that, for those who follow Christ, we do not have to stay in those tents forever.

Instead, we can go home!

Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

God bless …

Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the Times-Gazette and the News Journal. He is also the former Pastor of Port William UMC.

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Chuck Tabor

Contributing columnist