A covering.

Here is the very thing for which our souls yearn.

It’s a truth I am reminded of each time that my children run to me, crying in pain.

Mama, I’m hurt! I need a band-aid!  As they unknowingly weep this confession, their owies and tear-streaked faces preach the same sermon to me again and again, and it’s nothing short of gospel truth.

We need a covering.

It’s under a covering that we are hidden, for it clothes and conceals us, protecting and shielding from danger and harm.  It’s under a covering that we find healing,  wholeness and rest.

Without it, we are vulnerable–exposed, naked, hurting, ashamed.

At creation, God the Eternal breathed life into our first mother and father, and gave them everything good and perfect and beautiful.  Being made in the beginning, only a “little lower than the angels, and crowned [surrounded, encompassed, covered] with glory and honor” (Ps. 8:5), Adam and Eve knew nothing of shame and nakedness and fear.  No other covering was needed because they were completely encompassed–surrounded and upheld above and below and on all sides by God’s glorious presence. And for a moment, there was heaven on earth. 

In crept the enemy, and at that first sin in the garden, the perfect and holy presence of God over the human heart was removed, leaving them, and all of mankind, naked, ashamed, and desperately trying to sew together fig-leaf works of righteousness in order to bandage gaping heart holes, remove the shame and protect from death itself.

But just as their fig leaf coverings were insufficient cloaks, so too does he count our own righteous deeds as filthy garments.

Alone, and aware of our own sin and shame, like our mother and father of old, we cower and hide, as deep within, the echoes of our own hearts condemn us while the enemy of our soul gloats in triumph. This we understand: without a covering, we. are. dead. in. sin.  Darkness surrounds us as night comes, and the glory of what once was, fades to a distant longing, buried deep within our aching hearts.

We are now as the walking dead, and the world around us goes on screaming, pulling and pressing, ever suggesting that life can be found in this pursuit or that token or this affection.  Vainly we pursue. Because the longing, the yearning, it drives us and leads us to keep searching for that distant memory of what we once had–that which brought LIFE.  Over and over again our idols seem to turn upon us to attack, consume and wound more deeply.

Here in the blackest of nights, with bleeding hearts, exhausted from striving, we shiver in the dark–not from cold, but from despair and fear and pain.  Oh wretched soul, our heart accuses, who can save thee from thyself? We lie down, but not in peace, for what rest can be found for tormented hearts such as these?

It is in this darkest hour, that God the Eternal sends forth from His throne, a shaft of holy light, piercing down from glory above, and for the first time, our souls are taught mercy.
Heaven breaks forth with thunder, and the skies burst now in glorious day.  Light shines forth, light that is a banner of love, rippling down from the throne of grace, to bring a covering for every naked human heart. Down it falls like rain, cascading into streams of mercy, grace and forgiveness.  Lifting our burning eyes, we see that this fountain issues forth from a cross set high on Zion’s hill.

Behold the Lamb! We see him standing now, the Root of Jesse, raised as a banner over sin and death.  Piercing our hearts with His fiery gaze, he beckons us to draw near.  Step into the fountain. My blood covers all your sin.

So we come. Bowing beneath the crimson waters of salvation, we join the saints in this living song–Worthy is the Lamb! Seated on the Throne!

Grace covers all, heaven is handed down, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.

**

So you see sweetie? I whisper to my children, as I bandage their wounds.   See why a band-aid just feels so good? It reminds us that Christ Jesus is our covering.  In Him alone are we made whole. Only He makes all things new!

 

O happy hour, O blessed day

When Christ encompassed me!

To be free from sin and death I came

And fell beneath that tree.

For by his death, new life I gained

And from sin’s grip he freed

This grateful undeserving soul

To life eternally.

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