Monday, September 29, 2014

Red Alert!

Battle Stations. That is what my 7th grade girls' class is studying this month. We've been talking about the wiles of the devil and how he tries to influence us for evil. We've talked a bit about temptations and how to fight them off -- just submit to God and resist the devil and he must flee! (James 4:7) We've talked about how we fight in a spiritual battle rather than a physical one.  But, just like a physical battle, we don't go in without armor or weapons. God has given us everything we need to defeat the enemy and the end comes in the book of Revelation/our future!

I'm grateful to have been able to team up with one of the boys' Ranger commanders who is teaching the girls about archery as our unit project.  He asked us this week to find a verse in the Bible that has to do with archery or bows and arrows.  I found mine easily as it happens to be one of my favorite sets of verses:

Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city,
The watchman stays awake in vain.

To sit up late,
To eat the bread of sorrows;

For so He gives His beloved sleep.
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
So are the children of one’s youth.
They shall not be ashamed,
But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.

It is vain for you to rise up early,
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them...

These verses tell me that I don't have to be in control of the battle. This battle belongs to God. In fact, if I don't let Him be the builder and the guard, then all my efforts will be for nothing. I can't live this life in my own strength; I must depend on Him.  

These aren't easy words for me. I tend to be control-freaky. I like to make the decisions and carry out the plan. But, if it is my decision and my plan -- even if it all works out -- these verses tell me that it has no value in God's kingdom. Why? Because I didn't rely on Him, my faith wasn't strengthened, I have no testimony, and only my will was done.

All the things I try to do in my own strength are vain and useless. God can provide all I need even while I'm sleeping, these verses say. I can just sleep, and He can get the job done!

What a relief!

The last part compares children with arrows in the hand of a warrior. I have two arrows. I want them to be straight and not vary from the path that God has for them. But, sometimes, they (like me) are a bit crooked. In the spiritual realm, they have to be whittled, or stretched, or smoothed or whatever you might do to arrows. In the physical realm, they must be fed, and cared for, and talked to, and taught, and loved, and prepared. At times, they must be punished or rewarded.  

At times, we practice with these arrows. We put them in new situations to see how they fly. If they fall short of our target of expectations, we bring them back and sand them down and try again. We don't leave them in the quiver. Arrows are made to be sent out.