4th July 2011

The Bow From Which Your Children As Living Arrows Fly

“However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.’”
1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)

The Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran called parents, “ the bow from which your children as living arrows fly.” Admirable in theory, painful in practice!

As human parents, we want to protect our children from the painful realities and disappointments of life for as long as possible. At the same time we want to raise loving, competent and sensible children who can become independent of us while knowing we are always there to support and encourage them.

Sometimes, when they become adults we suffer as they make wrong decisions or bad choices but it does not diminish our love for them.  Sometimes we share their joy when they make good decisions and wise choices and are thrilled in a way only a parent can understand.

Whatever their choices in life, there comes a time when we have to stand back and allow them to make their own way as independent human beings.  They do indeed fly away from the bow, and sometimes in directions we don’t want them to go!

Isn’t that an interesting parallel of God’s relationship with us? God loves us far more than we can ever know or measure. Yet in love He gives us independence and freedom, even to make wrong choices and bad decisions. We can too easily fly off in the wrong direction, harming ourselves and, too often, other people. But God allows us to do so and waits patiently for us to see and acknowledge our mistakes. God will never force us to go down a specific path through life, but walks with us and teaches us along whichever path we choose.

It is not because God wants us to suffer or harm others. It is because God works in eternity, and whatever suffering or difficulties we face in this temporary, physical life are as nothing compared to the wonderful, eternal future that is ahead of us.

That freedom we have in our lives, is why there is so much evil in the world; evil which is sometimes even done in the name of God. Think about the crusades, the Inquisition, and massacres that have taken place in tribal warfare, ethnic cleansing and the Holocaust.

There are all too many examples of humanity choosing the wrong way.  Yet there is a better world and a better way ahead for all. The awesome and unique sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, paid the penalty for all the evil deeds of humanity.Because of that sacrifice God looks for and sees, not what we do wrong, but what we do right.

God allows us to fly in all directions even when, like a human parent, he knows we will harm ourselves.  But the day is coming when Christ will return and we will all, like arrows, fly in the right direction, voluntarily submitting ourselves to the authority of our God.

Just as we rejoice, as human parents, when our children fly in the right direction, so God will rejoice that we have flown back to be in his loving care for eternity.

Father, it is awesome that you have, in love, given humanity the freedom to follow you, or sometimes in a wrong way, or to reject you. Father we pray ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ when all humanity will come to know you and understand your immeasureable love.

Study by Keith Hartrick

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