A Lesson From the Recent Tornadoes
The week of April 25, 2011 was a rough week for many people. It was more than rough for the folks in the South, particularly in Alabama, which is believed to have already over 250 confirmed deaths due to the devastating tornadoes that passed their way a few days ago. There was also a lot of damage in other states as well, such as Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.
The effects of the tornadoes were felt everywhere. Even in Northeast Ohio where I live, we were affected by major storms, with the Cleveland area losing their power for several days. When I returned home from a very long day of work, taking phone calls from people who lost their power, my wife and children were gathered around in our bedroom quietly with a solemn spirit. They had been praying for many of the families who were affected by the tornadoes. One particular story my wife told me was heart-wrenching and devastating.
I’m sure not many major news networks did or will cover this story, but Doug Phillips in his blog tells the story of a homeschooling Alabama family of thirteen children, who lost their father in a tornado the evening of April 27. You can view the entire story here.
“But in his last great act of fatherhood, Tom Lee had the presence of mind to throw himself on top of his children, including his first-born son Jordan. Looking up at his father Jordan saw the blood in his father’s mouth and witnessed as the breath began to leave his father, but was able to hear the last words of his father’s crying out to God for the safety of his family. Then the spirit left the body of Tom Lee.”1
This courageous father literally gave his life for his family. This heroic act was not just something the father decided to do out of nowhere. It was done out of the overflow of what he was already doing as a father. So it is no wonder that his eldest son, even after such a horrible event in which he saw his father die before his eyes, took up the mantel of responsibility which his father undoubtedly taught him in both word and deed.
“Like his father, Jordan had a manly presence of mind and was able to take the necessary steps to see that his mother, brothers, and sisters would be rescued.” 1
The Father is to Protect His Family Physically
“If anyone fails to provide for his relatives, and especially for those of his own family, he has disowned the faith [by failing to accompany it with fruits] and is worse than an unbeliever [who performs his obligation in these matters].” —1 Timothy 5:8 (Amplified Bible)
The father in the above story was performing his God-ordained duty to be a protector of those with whom God has entrusted him. To fail to do so would make one worse than an infidel. This man truly believed God’s word in this area and proved it with his life.
Sadly, there are far too many Christian men who, either out of selfishness, fear, or belief in a false and perverted Christianity, fail to take up their moral responsibility to protect their families. One of the worst forms of denial comes from the “turn the other cheek, bless them that curse you” type of Christians. (Obviously, this passage is Biblical, but I mean that it is overemphasized and misapplied.) I know because I used to be one of them. If someone were to break into their house and attempt to rape, steal, or kill his wife and/or children, these deluded worse-than-infidels would stand by and do nothing; perhaps they would pray for God to intervene and stop the evil people from having their way upon his family. He is holier than God, so out of his pride in his false doctrine he does nothing to protect his family. He is proud to protect his family spiritually perhaps, but not physically in this situation. His family will one day suffer because of him.
When I tell people about this doctrine of hell, they usually tell me that they believe in the heat of the moment, the man will rise up and defend his family. This is not true in most cases. When a conviction is held this strongly, the influence of the doctrine, combined with his fear, will drive him to do nothing; and then he will spew out his faulty interpretation of scripture to justify his lack of action. Man’s sin nature is seen in these type of situations, and I have heard of situations where men would let the same set of criminals repeatedly come into their houses and rape their daughters in front of them. It is a shame that such men consider themselves godly and believe they are doing God’s will.
If you are a father and you do not own a gun or two, you need to make buying one, with some ammunition, among your top priorities. Especially so if you live in an area that has a high crime rate, although bad things can and will happen anywhere. It will be too late when the crisis occurs, and you will wish you had a gun when the time comes, when taking action will have saved them from destruction.
Unfortunately, out of ignorance, I bought a house in a not-so-good, mostly black, ghetto area. Things aren’t looking optimistic for me to be able to sell my house and get out of here soon. Consequently, I have taken a lot of precautions to keep my family safe. My back yard is fenced in. I keep two porch lights on all night, both on the side and in front of the house. I have alarms on every door and window. I have a sign on my front door warning would-be intruders to back off or suffer the consequences. The sign says, “Warning: Beware of Owner” with a picture of a gun. When at home outdoors, I carry my firearm openly so that others know I am serious about protecting my family. Now I realize that one can be overly paranoid and take safety too far–I’ve seen it in action where I work–but it is nonetheless good to think of ways you can assure your family’s well-being.
The Father is to Protect His Family Spiritually
As I covered briefly in a previous article, the father needs to be extremely involved in what is taught in his house, what is consumed in his home, and what comes into his home. He should be concerned with the health of his family, their happiness, and very importantly, their spiritual well-being.
The father should also be an active participant in homeschooling, in the very least making sure the material used is what it should be. He needs to keep his wife up to date on what should be taught. Home school materials often have things in it that you may not want your children to learn, even if the material is Christian material. We must pay careful attention and not just blow it off as “not that important.” Everything that is perceived by the eye and mind of your child is important.
The father needs to pay special attention to the media that comes into his home. Most of you reading probably already realize the importance of this. But don’t just consider the obvious “really bad” things. Take movies and television for example: Your concern shouldn’t just be about foul words, nude scenes, etc. Mindsets, ideas, attitudes, and worldviews are far more important. You could have a perfectly “acceptable for all ages” program that is worse for your family than a horror or sexually immoral flick in the long run. What good will it do if your child never uses a curse word, if he also believes in Cultural Marxism? What I am speaking of here is beliefs as reflected in practice. Your child might know all the right sayings and believe the right things on paper, but his mind can be conditioned to, in practice, believe and defend the Marxist agenda. One only has to see the way the “anti-racist” Christian reformed crowd behaves to realize this; they utterly reject truth for the sake of “not being a racist.”
The Father is to Teach His Boys to be Protectors
In the Cart household, I like to make every moment I am with my children a teachable moment. Time is a precious thing, and you will only be with your children for so long. Indeed, the scriptures even say in Deuteronomy 6:7,
“And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.”
To teach my oldest son to be a protector for his sister, I make the smallest moments teachable moments. They are not only teachable; they are fun. The children have a blast. For example, at night time, we all gather in our bedroom for prayer and fellowship time. We keep a couple of water bottles upstairs to drink during this time and to have throughout the night if we wake up thirsty. If we run out of water, I will have one of the children go fill them downstairs from the Berkey Water Filter tank. If my daughter Ashley goes down, I have trained Elias (the oldest) to go down with her, with his BB gun, to protect her. He loves to do it every time. It makes him feel proud to protect his sister. She loves it too. She loves feeling protected by her big brother.
You can think of ways to daily reinforce all the values you hold dear and instill them in your children. The materials you bring into your home, and the media your children have and use, should all reflect the proper worldview of the man being the protector. I remember when searching for a new Wii game, I was reviewing Mario Galaxy on Amazon.com, reading through the reviews from customers. One woman complained that she hated most of the Super Mario games because it always has the men (Mario and Luigi) fighting to rescue Princess Peach. She hated the “damsel in distress” stories. She was an “independent woman,” a feminist who thinks she doesn’t need a man to protect her. Even though she is likely an unbeliever, this is the attitude that is prevalent in the Church today. Accordingly, I purposely will buy a video game that shows the men fighting to protect the women, and likewise avoid a game that has a woman fighting right alongside the men.
The father of the Christian family bears a lot of responsibility. The wife’s duty is to obey and submit to the leadership of her husband. Ultimately, the father is going to be the one to answer to God for how his family turns out. The father carries the authority in the home. But with that authority comes much responsibility; it is not something to take lightly. We must learn the excellent lesson of sacrifice and leadership from Tom Lee, the man who gave his life to protect his family–and we must learn to apply this same heart and soul attitude toward every aspect of our fatherhood duties in life.