Roofs are something we take for granted. I'd venture to say that most of us have never lived in a house without a roof. I was recently visiting an area that had been hit by a major tornado a couple of years ago. My friend told me the story of one family who had hidden deep inside their basement, praying for protection from the storm's rage. Protection they were granted, but when they walked up their basement stairs they found nothingness, no walls, no roof, just bright sky. Can you imagine how disconcerting that must have been to find no cover and no protection, and not knowing when the next storm would come? This is a roof's entire purpose—to cover and protect. A roof keeps out rain and snow, tree leaves and hail, winter's coldness and summer's blazing sunlight. It separates what needs to stay outside and what is intended to be inside.
God builds His mighty fortress of protection around us and our families in very real ways. Most of us reading this have been given a home that covers us in His care. Our family members sleep safely in their beds because He has granted us protection for this day.
We are given real and metaphorical roofs for our homes as a refuge and a shield in this life. It is complex trying to keep the outside things outside our home, while safeguarding the precious treasures inside our home. We need God's Word to guide us.
But let all who take refuge in You rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your name may exult in You.
For You bless the righteous, O LORD;
You cover him with favor as with a shield.
How do we embrace the roof as a shield for our families?
Let judgment slide off and joy explode within.
This world has so much to say about what families should look like. God concerns Himself with one thing when addressing this topic: Jesus.
Jesus offered His life as a sacrifice for our salvation and pours His love and mercy now into our lives. We have been forgiven, and we share this truth when we sit around the table, when we rise from our beds, when we argue, when we pray, when we drive in our cars, and when we sit on our couches. We don't need to look like anyone else's picture of grace. We don't need to listen to the world's opinions of who should get the best mom/dad or husband/wife award. We rest secure in Jesus: our Mighty Fortress. We extend His caring love and mercy on a daily basis when we say, “I forgive you” and “I need forgiveness.” Because of Jesus, God keeps us in His fortress of love, and in turn it is this fortress that nurtures trust within our families
The promise is clear. As we take refuge in the Lord, and the Lord alone, this brings more joy into our homes and an ever-present sense of protection. When we have the ability to be ourselves without the concern of what we are doing right or wrong in the world's eyes of judgment, then we can truly be naked and unashamed at home (Genesis 2:25). Where else can we fully be ourselves—with our warts, sins, and struggles, as well as with those aspects of our lives and personalities that are thoughtful, endearing, and delightful?
Joy reigns where judgment is expelled. Our homes become absolutely safe for us, our spouse, our children, and our grandchildren because we know this truth no matter what: home means grace.
Joy bursts forth as we minimize the expectations pressing in from the outside world.
Does someone think your parenting style is less than stellar? Let it slide off.
Does someone have opinions of what your schedule should look like? Let it slide off.
Does a family member or friend have ideas about what your husband or wife should do, say, or be? Let it slide off.
Long ago, Martin Luther let the judgment of the world slide off while he sat in a cold castle in Wartburg, Germany. Day after day, he worked and translated the Greek New Testament into German because he wanted to make sure his fellow German-speaking Christians would be able to read God’s Word for themselves and there encounter the Living Christ in His Word.
God wants our lives and our homes to be places of freedom from the world's judgment. God's shield of protection looks a whole lot like a cross on a hill with a Savior willing to give His life so that we can live free.
Joy explodes in knowing that our acceptance as individuals and as a family comes from Christ and Christ alone. Proclaim this around the dinner table tonight and when you tuck your children into bed, when you see your grandchildren next and when you text your husband the grocery list.
"A mighty fortress is our God, A trusty shield and weapon." For me and for my family fights the Valiant One. "Ask ye, Who is this? Jesus Christ it is" (LSB 656). And His is the only opinion that ever mattered.
Thank You, God, for roofs.