I always feel a sense of peace and calm (along with other emotions I can't encapsulate) when I relay this story. My dad, as a kid, remembers overhearing a conversation at church among older ladies. (Names made up to add to story interest).
Mabel asks Myrtle how Mary is doing in the hospital after _____ (something serious). Myrtle shakes her head with a smile, with a look of hope in her eyes. "Well, Mary is doing just fine.Her earthsuit isn't doing so great though." Mabel responds with a knowing nod.
Earthsuit. That's all our bodies are. These women had come to recognize and understand that the person is the soul. As C.S. Lewis once said, "You don't have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body." So true, and so encouraging. Our lives are transient, temporary, but a vapor, but the God-given soul has no end.
Paul talks about this too, referring to the body as a "tent":
2 Corinthians 5
New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)
Our Heavenly Dwelling
"5 Now 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 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
6 Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. 7 We live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."
God has appointed a time for us to live in the tent, or earthsuit, on this planet He created to serve Him and bring Him glory even through our feeble human bodies.
Peter also refers to the body as a tent:
2 Peter 1
"13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me."
Peter knows his earthsuit is wearing out and his stay on this planet is coming to a close, but he is confident, for he knows to set it aside is to take on something greater and more real and permanent than the natural body.
So what does this mean? Well, if we are ambassadors and aliens on earth as Christ once was, then it's as if we're astronauts sent from another planet with a divine mission. Our mission has a certain allotted time, but that is not for us to know. In the meantime, we must do good and serve and love as if each day is the end of our earthsuit and the planet we are visiting. But we have nothing to fear, for the earthsuit is only for traveling through this planet. Why would we want to stay confined in our earthsuit, when shedding our earthsuit means being with our Lover in a world more real and alive and tangible than anything imaginable. And, if your earthsuit is fading, there is hope! All disease, illness, pain, heartache, regret, sorrow, guilt, sin, any sadness, leaves with the earthsuit when one day we stay before our Maker, cast off our earthsuit, and He says "Well done, my good and faithful servant."
Learning how to live in this earthsuit,