The Hole in My Tent: Alive, Part 19

by | Apr 13, 2020 | Acceptance, Alive, Forgiveness

“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.” (Matthew 6:14-15, The Message)

Forgiveness can be illustrated by the hole we found in our tent. Let me explain.

My youngest son flew in from Edmonton to be with us. To make this possible, my wife picked him up at the airport, and then both of them headed north to where my oldest son and I were camping in Algonquin Provincial Park. In order to accommodate all of us on the campsite, we had brought our old tent. Our plan was to set this up for the boys to use, while my wife and I slept in the tent trailer. The tent was a true relic from the past, purchased when our children, now adults, were barely three.

The only problem was that as we set up this antiquity, my oldest son noticed a hole. Actually it was truly not a hole. It was more of a gap measuring about 30 cms, with extra, smaller gaps above it.

“This will be cool, son,” I commented. “Mosquitoes will be glad to keep your company during the night.”

We tried to find a solution. We took a large plastic wrapper that had at one time held 36 small bottles of water, and we found a means of gluing it with some kind of sticky mixture of something. As we worked on this solution, one of us succeeded in creating another gap in the tent. The fabric had become so brittle that any tension on it would create more air-conditioning possibilities. And also more opportunities for hungry, ferocious mosquitoes!

It’s quite disheartening when a possible solution to a problem turns out to create an even bigger problem. We could have said, “No way! This tent is worthless! Garbage can, you can have it! Goodbye and good riddance!” Some would even have wanted to stomp on it out of rage. Still, this wouldn’t have been a solution, as we still needed a place for our two boys to lodge.

Had we’ve been unforgiving towards the seemingly usefulness tent, the garbage can would have had a full tummy, and we would have been left wanting for a sleeping solution. Imagine having to say, “Kids, the tent was in such bad shape that we threw it away. You wouldn’t want to sleep in such a tent anyway, with fabric that is so brittle that it is completely useless. Don’t worry, you can sleep anywhere you would like on our campsite. That tree sure looks to be a nice one. What do you think?”

Unforgiveness is never a solution. It imprisons us forever with bitterness that tangles our life into knots and mosquito bites.

We decided to accept our tent as it was. We couldn’t have changed it anyway, so we made do with what we had. Off we went to the camp store to buy patches and duct tape. The patches kept the gaps covered, the duct tape kept the inside secure against the elements, and both of my teens slept fitfully in the tent of their youth, awaking refreshed–and with plenty of mosquito bites!

Forgiveness truly works!

By the way, anyone would recognize our tent from afar. We used every coloured patch we had. Our tent is indeed very colourful. You may use it if you like. It might teach you a lesson or two.

Rob Chaffart

Written in August, 2014

(To access the entire “Alive” devotional series, please click here.)


The Hole in My Tent: Alive, Part 19