Last week our family camped near Brown County State Park in southern Indiana. For camping, it wasn’t exactly roughing it as we have travel trailers with all the usual amentities — air conditioning, full hook-ups for showers and toilets, refrigeration, hot water, real mattresses. No sleeping under the stars or cooking over a sweltering fire in summertime temperatures.

Even with all these conveniences, it wasn’t like HOME. We ate outside even when it was so warm the sweat poured down our faces. The pool was nice for cooling off and helped to alleviate some of the discomfort of the high humidity and warm temperatures. Sleeping in air conditioning in a travel trailer is nice, but not quite like home. It’s much noisier and less consistent.

We came home Sunday afternoon and by 9:00 o’clock I was ready to snuggle into my bed. HOME…it’s the best. I slept better than I did all week. It was quiet, cool and cozy. It was nice to walk around the house without running into one another or needing to sidestep along the end of the bed to get to the bathroom. No noisy air conditioner or fan running all night. Just quietness!

This morning in my meditation time, I reflected on the two accommodations. For camping, our travel trailer is amazing. I could live in it for a long time, if necessary. But I always look forward to and long for HOME. I know there is something better awaiting me.

This experience reminds me of my life on earth. While it seems I have all the conveniences I could want, something better awaits me. Just as my travel trailer provides all the comforts of home, it is not HOME. My life here is full and complete, I am surrounded by the Spirit of God and he gives me rest on every side, but it is not HOME!

As I read Paul’s letters to the new believers in Thessalonica, I sense their excitement for another home. They anticipated Jesus’ return, living with him forever. It seems they had three concerns: What about people who die before Jesus returns? When will this happen? How should we live until then? Paul clearly says that even those who die before Jesus’ return will meet him in the air (so I admit, I don’t know that I understand how it will happen–I’m content to know that it will happen.) Secondly, the timing is not important. Finally, it matters how we live. Alert, clear-headed, protected by the armor of faith and love is how we live. And then he says this:

…wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation. For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us.  Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:8-11

The intended use of these words is to encourage one another! For me, I need to be reminded that I can take confidence in my helmet of salvation. Jesus died to save me, not to pour his anger on me.

And that encourages me! What part of this is encouraging to you? Share it with someone today!

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