5:2 For in this(tent) we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. 4 For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
I can't quantify this but it seems with the rising issues or depression, mental health, suicide, sexual identity etc... that more and more people are uncomfortable within themselves and are seeking some kind of change. They know something is wrong. They may not know what but they are groaning within. Paul identifies both the cause and the solution for this inward dissatisfaction. We were not designed for hate, envy, strife, pride, self-obsession, self-pity, self-loathing, guilt, shame, fear, angst, anxiety, divorce, abuse, etc... We carry burdens we were never meant to have. As a result, our tents are getting tattered and torn and we're looking at alternatives. We think "Maybe if I change this or do that things will be better."
When I read the story of Mike Penner it affected me deeply. He was a Sports Writer for the LA Times and at the top of his game it seemed when he went on vacation in 2007 after stating in a column he wrote the he was a woman on the inside. When he returned from that vacation he had transitioned to be Christine Daniels and remained that way for most of a year. Then in 2008 she transitioned back to being Mike Penner. In 2009 he killed himself. I don't pretend to know anything beyond those facts nor am I trying to apply his case to others. What I can say with confidence is that whatever he was trying to fix didn't work and the peace he was seeking he never found. So intense was his inner groaning that he killed himself to silence it.
Paul offers a solution. He speaks not as a theorist but from personal experience. Prior to his life as a follower of Jesus he tried to silence his inner groaning by being an elite religionist. He figured if he could be the best Jew possible he would find peace. He even went so far as to hunt down those who were a threat to the Jewish faith but none of it worked. The cause of our groanings is not in our religion, sexuality, self-advancement, professional accomplishments, relationships, or any other area. We can spend years, decades, or even a lifetime pursuing one or more of those avenues to peace but it will never come. Jesus met a woman who was working on getting her sixth husband but her misery was only increasing.
We were meant for more. Jesus has a tent for us. We can starting putting it on now. We don't have to wait for heaven. In that tent we don't have to work to increase our value. In that tent heaven paid the ultimate price for us. In that tent we begin to see we have nothing to fear because God is for us so what could possibly succeed against us? In that tent we begin to understand our true identity. It is not based on our race, religion, success, sexuality, or anything else. We are a child of God. We are heirs of eternity. As we grow into the indescribable love that caused God to pitch His tent among us, the lies about what we are and aren't begin to fall off. We begin to see we have no cause for worry. Anxiety melts in His presence. His Spirit begins to build up in us what Satan has worked so diligently to tear down.
Imagine a life where you had boundless boldness to love others unconditionally. Imagine a life where the hurts and attacks of others caused no pain to you because you understood it was only a manifestation of their own pain and really had nothing to do with you. Imagine being able to say, mean, and feel these words "Father forgive them for they know not what they do".
The person we were can and will be swallowed up by the person we were and are designed by God to become. We were prepared for this very thing by God. It is our true destiny. We are His. That is our true identity. We just need to discover it and learn to walk in it. It's a process and it starts here and now.
Stop trying to patch your old tent. Let Him give you your new one. :)