I knew it was going to be okay when I learned that I was an arrow—shaped, sharpened, and shot to hit a target the archers couldn’t hit on their own.
I knew it was going to be okay, that my parents, my churches, and my own heart were all archers in their own right, forming and formulating strategies to wage war. And sometimes my parents, my churches, and my own heart would go to bed at night, lay down their arms, and rest knowing they had done all and stood well, and now it was time to rest.
This past weekend one of our pastors spoke about fatherhood and I broke.
I broke because I have failed as a daughter and have been failed too. Because in my family there is estrangement and brokenness. There is a failure to acknowledge the good that was and the bad that shouldn’t have been. I broke because all of my misconceptions about God have been rooted in a failure to understand that parents are only earthly shadows, not even a particle of the real thing—and I have gotten it backwards. I broke because my pastor read this verse: For [our fathers] disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness.
As it seemed best to them.
Best. To them.
I broke, more than anything, because if there is one thing I come against again and again it is the failure to recognize that my life’s circumstances, and the people in them, are mere archers. They have done their best to craft me and shoot me straight as it seemed to them. But I am the arrow—ultimately hitting the target is not up to them, it is up to me and the Master crafter.
We are a reactive generation—holding up our parents and churches and even our own wicked hearts at times, and we are saying, “None of that now! They have done us wrong! A new way! A better way!”
But here is the truth, more than anything: the better way, the best way, is to trust that every way that seemed best to those we feel failed most by, was part of the best way for God to discipline us for our good, that we may share in His holiness.
He took all our collective brokenness, the unfair rules and poor theology, the bad politics and dysfunctional church environments, even the abuse and shame, He took all of it, bore the fullness of it, and whatever He has given to us to bear is for our good. We get to share in His holiness because of it.
Even broken archers can shoot straight arrows and even broken arrows can still hit targets.
He’s already won the war for us.