Thursday, July 26, 2012

                                      Reflections from the Home Team, July 26, 2012                                  

“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; 

Greetings from Cedar Falls,

I wanted to share an update with you as it’s been a while… I continue to be cancer free and what I prefer to refer to as a “determined survivor”.  I have had some more  throat concerns over the past few weeks, but am working through those as they appear yet again to be side effects from chemo and radiation treatments. I continue to successfully manage the arthritis symptoms in my jaw and neck through my bio-feedback and daily exercise routines each morning.  The routine helps keep me motivated to “work out” each day which is certainly a good thing.

I have had an opportunity to continue my reading (Do Not Lose Heart by Dave Dravecky) as we spent some time away up in Door County with our family, and that was awesome. We have spent many years traveling to our favorite spot there as a family, camping, biking, swimming and fishing.  It gave me some time to reflect on my journey not only with cancer, but with my family as we have spent all those years camping in tents, trailers, cabins and more recently vacation homes. If you go camping, you may live in a tent for a few days, you can even make the tent very comfortable, you can bring with you chairs and tables, cookery, utensils and a mobile air condition unit to cool down in a baking hot summer day, but you know where you are is still a tent, and you would soon need to pack up and go home after camping because a tent is a temporary shelter. It’s fun to camp in a tent, but let’s face it, it’s not home. There is no fireplace, no cozy chair, and no soft bed. It’s cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and leaky when it rains. And the older it gets, the more it sags. Eventually it frays and tears. (I have my 40th High School class reunion this weekend, and I think we may hear a few stories of sagging, fraying and tearing, just all part of the “maturing” process.)

In his book Do Not Lose Heart, Dave Dravecky shares a powerful example that illustrates our bodies as temporary tents. The piece reminds me that our focus must be on the building to come which we have with God, not the “tent” we have now. The title of the piece is, “O Mr. Tentmaker” and it has provided me a great perspective as I move forward on my journey with this disease.
Writing to the Tentmaker The Tent-Dweller writes:
O Mr. Tentmaker;
It was nice living in this tent when it was strong and secure and the sun was shining and the air warm. But Mr. Tentmaker, it’s scary now. You see, my tent is acting like it is not going to hold together; the poles seem weak and they shift with the wind. A couple of stakes have wiggled loose from the sand; and worst of all, the canvas has a rip. It no longer protects me from beating rain or stinging fly. It’s scary in here, Mr. Tentmaker.

Last week I went to the repair shop and some repairman tried to patch the rip in my canvas. It didn’t help much, though, because the patch pulled away from the edges and now the tear is worse. What troubled me most, Mr. Tentmaker, is that the repairman didn’t seem to notice I was still in the tent; he just worked on the canvas while I shivered inside. I cried out once, but no one heard me. I guess my first real question is: Why did you give me such a flimsy tent? I can see by looking around the campground that some of the tents are much stronger and more stable than mine. Why, Mr. Tentmaker, did you pick a tent of such poor quality for me? And even more important, what do you intend to do about it?

In his reply, the Tentmaker writes:
O little tent dweller, as the Creator and Provider of tents, I know all about you and your tent, and I love you both. I made a tent for myself once, and lived in it in your campground. My tent was vulnerable, too, and some vicious attackers ripped it to pieces while I was still in it…on a cross. It was a terrible experience, but you will be glad to know they couldn’t hurt me. In fact, the whole experience was a tremendous advantage because it is this very victory over my enemy that frees me to be a present help to you.

O little tent dweller, I am now prepared to come and live in your tent with you, if you’ll invite me. You’ll learn as we dwell together that real security comes from My being in your tent with you. When the storms come, you can huddle in my arms and I’ll hold you. When the canvas rips, we’ll go to the repair shop together.

Someday, little tent dweller, some day your tent is going to collapse. You see, I’ve designed it only for temporary use. But when it does you and I are going to leave together. I promise not to leave before you do. And then, free of all that would hinder or restrict, we will move to our permanent home and together, forever, we will rejoice and be glad.

When we ourselves, a friend, relative, parent or anyone very dear to us is struggling with cancer, or some other life threatening disease, sometimes we feel numbed, bereaved, disappointed, and angry as all kinds of negative sensations flood the mind. As Christians we need to remember that though we are suffering the trials of fighting such a battle, it is our earthly tents which are being impacted, and that we can look forward to forevermore living in a new building, not temporary tents anymore, but rather a new building built with hands by God. There we can live forever and neither death nor suffering will have any sway over us.

2 Corinthians 5:1; “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.”

May you enjoy the rest of your summer!

Sincerely, Dave

Link to: Reflections from the Home Team BLOG

Link to Youtube: Reflections from the "Home Team"... Go the Distance


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Part 3:
Link to: Tommy Emmanuel and "Angelina"