Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Daddy, Will You Please Cover Me?

As time passes and the church continues to fall into greater disarray, it is my personal belief that much of this is due to the increasing liberal thinking that has infiltrated all denominations.  Some churches are growing incredibly, some are stagnant, and some are diminishing; but we all seem to be suffering the same bent toward doing “what feels good to me” because “Jesus Loves me just the way I am.”  We quickly and glibly quote the scriptures pertaining to Jesus having regularly spent time with tax collectors and sinners and Jesus’ Love for all, but give little time or thought to what the purpose of His heart was…and still is; the saving of souls.  If we pack the house, but ignore the ways in which we are causing new Christians to fall, we had been better off allowing the congregation to dwindle down to nothing and the building to stay empty and fall into ruin. 

Matthew 18:6-7 reads: 

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Woe unto the world because of offences!  For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”

Daddy, Will You Please Cover Me? 

At 7:30 a.m. as Paul passed the bank on his way to work, he read the sign that flashed a temperature of 87 degrees.  He groaned to think of the heat that lay ahead.  He worked in construction and they had a full day out in the sun.  As he waited at a red light in the heavy traffic, he heard horns honking behind him and he looked around to see what was going on.  He saw a woman he recognized walking down the sidewalk.  He quickly looked away, as she was clearly under dressed.  She was a member of the same church that Paul and his wife attended and was known as being very kindhearted and generous.  However, he had always avoided contact with her because she often wore low-cut, short dresses or equally exposing casual clothing.  Paul soon heard hoots, whistles, and crude remarks pouring out the windows of several vehicles around him.  His heart ached as he thought of the example she was showing and the danger she placed herself in, which he truly believed she did not realize.  He began praying for her, for all of the women she represented, and even for the men who were encouraged by and attracted to her under dressed condition.  As he prayed, he thought of the scripture his own father had read to him over and over as he was growing up and which had a profound effect on him and kept him from falling into such snares.   

Proverbs 7:22, 23, 26,27 – “He goes after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knows not that it is for his life…For she has cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.  Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death."

He was deeply saddened that so many women believed their worth was in the physical.  They had come to believe, perhaps early on in life, to use their bodies to manipulate and control. However, they didn’t understand that this came with a price that would be very, very high.   

Paul thought about the men, young boys, women, and young girls who were now completely immersed through relentless bombardment of pornographic visuals via television, movies, internet, magazines, and billboards. Throughout the day his heart was burdened for them and he prayed continually.  

That evening after Paul and his wife, Taryn, had completed the bedtime routine with their daughter including prayers, tucking in, and one last drink of water (for the third time), they were sitting together on the couch quietly talking over the days’ events.  Paul told Taryn about the episode of the woman from their church and how burdened his heart had been for her as well as for the men whistling at her.  He emphasized that his heart was not one of judgment, but rather deep sadness.  As they talked, they heard the familiar padding of little feet coming down the hallway and five-year-old Emily peered around the corner at them with her large, sleepy brown eyes.  “I had to go potty,” she said with a yawn.  She walked over to where they were sitting and asked, “Daddy, will you please cover me?” 

Her question quickened something in his spirit as he rose from the couch and lifted little Emily into his arms.  He marveled at how perfectly she fit against him as she snuggled and laid her head on his shoulder. 

While he tucked the blankets beneath her chin just the way she liked them, she watched him intently with eyes full of trust.  He rested on the edge of the bed and with his hand he gently brushed soft, brown wisps of hair from her face.  Soon her long dark lashes rested on her cheeks and her breath came slow and even.  Paul was content to sit for a time looking at his angelic sleeping beauty.  As he admired her, he pondered her question, “Daddy, will you please cover me?”   Soon the words began to take on much greater significance than that of tucking the blankets under her chin.   

Tears rolled down his cheek as he thought of the woman he’d seen earlier that day.  He thought about the fact that she, too, was someone’s baby girl.  He knew his own heart would break if that were ever his own precious Emily that the men were leering and jeering at.  He understood and was faithful to the call of covering her in prayer, but he knew there was further covering to which he was called as her father.  As he watched Emily sleep, he pondered this further.   

Through the years, he had watched some Christian parents who believed that all they had to do is pray for their children and leave the rest to God, as if parenting were a type of “hands-off” operation and praying for them relieved them of the day to day duties of parenting, which sometimes calls for “turning the tables over.” (Matthew 21:12-13) 

So many had succumbed to the worldly ways of child rearing and had abandoned the clear instructions given in God’s Word.  They seemed to forget the deeper needs of children in whose hearts foolishness was bound (Proverbs 22:15 “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”).  Paul could see that there was a need for ongoing Loving, firm discipline and guidance coupled with Love and deep affection that would keep their hearts at home.  However, the busy lives of many were often in the way of the “doing” that produced children who honored and obeyed their parent’s, which leads to life.  (Exodus 20:12 “Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”)  Paul believed that the deepest hurt of most children suffering from anger was rooted in the lack of boundaries, Love, and time from their parents.  

Paul knew he had a God-given responsibility to fulfill the different means of covering Emily as the years rolled by and she transformed from little girl to adolescent to young woman.  In addition to continually covering her in a blanket of prayer and careful spiritual guidance, he would need to cover her with boundaries, discipline, and fatherly affection that were based on Biblical principals.  He knew that even now at the tender age of five, part of covering her involved teaching her to keep herself covered.  He had witnessed the disastrous results of parents who had allowed their girls to dress scantily throughout little girlhood and then suddenly attempted to apply a dress code when they were developing physically. 

This routine seemed to always birth a seed of deep rebellion, resentment, and dishonor toward the parents and placed the girls in grave danger. 

Paul stood slowly so as to not awaken Emily.  He then knelt by her bedside and “covered” her again.  As he knelt there, he began to weep deeply, as though weeping for the hurts of all the little girls, including those who were now grown and confused women, who had never had a father to whom they might say, “Daddy, will you please cover me?”  Although he was unable to find words to voice what he was feeling, he knew that the Holy Spirit was interceding on their behalf.  He left Emily’s room with assurance that those not having an earthly father to cover them would always be able to turn to the Father of Heaven. 

(Psalm 91:4 “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Psalm 68:5 “A Father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitation.”) 

When Paul returned to the living room where Taryn waited for him, he was surprised to look at the clock and see that he’d been in Emily’s room for an hour. 

Taryn, seeing the look on his face, recognized immediately that he had felt the strong call to true fatherhood.  She patted the sofa cushion beside herself, inviting him to sit.  As he sat down looking into her eyes, he was so full of thankfulness for all God had given him.  He felt he might burst with it, but he equally felt the burden of others’ lack.  He took Taryn’s hand in his, but didn’t speak, as his throat was tight and he knew he would cry if he tried.  Taryn just waited patiently for this to pass.  She knew his heart was full and when he spoke it would be something worth having waited for.  

“Taryn,” he began slowly, “as I looked at Emily just now and thought of her question ‘Daddy, will you please cover me?’ I was reminded of the incident this morning with the woman from our church.  I am so grieved for her and every woman who believes her worth lies in physical attractiveness.  What happens when the natural aging process occurs and the physical body is all they have invested time in preserving?  I want so much more for Emily.  I want her to know that she, like all people, is a beautiful, special creation of God.  I want her to know that she is created for His glory and honor and that physical beauty is shallow and passing and will never draw a man to truly Love her as I have grown to Love you.”  (Proverbs 31:30 “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.”)  As a young woman, I want her to have the Love for God that makes her realize that her body is His temple.  Such knowledge will cause her to desire to cover her body even when she is beyond our realm of authority in her life.  I want her to be sure that as much as she is able, she is not the object used of the enemy to stir a man’s lust.  If she should attempt to rebel against us, as she gets older, we need to stand strong as one on her behalf and keep her within the boundaries that will keep her safe.  This is what God has given us and I don’t want to shirk that responsibility with her or any of our future children.  We also must be careful to be living examples of purity for the sake of all.” 

Paul opened the Bible and read, I Timothy 2:9.  “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel…”  He further read, Matthew 18:6, “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”   

As Taryn listened, the tears rolled down her cheeks.  “Paul, I am so very thankful that we are on the same page in this parenting mission.”  She said quietly.  “I know that God will hear our prayers and, as His word says, He is faithful to fulfill the promises He has made to His children.  As one before God, they vowed to continue in this renewed desire to fulfill His call on their lives.  Simultaneously, they looked up at the small, framed scripture that hung above the door, which read “Psalm 127:1 “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it:  except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”  Together they felt the Holy Spirit interceding through them and strengthening them for what lay ahead.


The Piper's Wife said...

This is excellent and beautiful. Thank you for posting this, Cherry!