Last night Kristi (my wife) read me a quote from the book Shadow of the Almighty, Elisabeth Elliot’s life and testament of Jim Elliot (one of the four missionaries murdered by the Auca Indians of Ecuador in 1956 that has motivated and encourage countless brave souls to reach out and press on in their life of service to God). The quote was a note from Jim to his parents who were not so keen on the idea of him going off to the dangerous mission field of South America.
I do not wonder that you were saddened at word of my going to South America. This is nothing else than what the Lord Jesus warned us of when He told the disciples that they must become so infatuated with the kingdom and following Him that all other allegiances must become as though they were not. And He never excluded the family tie…Grieve not, then, if your sons seem to desert you, but rejoice, rather, seeing the will of God done gladly. Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said that were as heritage from the Lord, and that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly – all of them, straight at the enemy’s hosts…p123
The Psalm he is referring to is Psalm 127 (sure, go look it up), but as Kristi read this to me it resonated with where we are in life. Kristi and I are on the beginnings of seeing our kids fly out of the nest (though I hear they keep coming back … which sounds great to me). See, we were up late last night moving Jessika (our middle daughter who is in her last year of her nursing program at Biola University) into an apartment she is sharing with a few of her friends. As well, Josh (our son) is in his last year at Biola, and our oldest daughter, Jamie, just finished her Masters and is ready to move on…and all three of our kids are in “significant” dating relationships. So, we are thinking a lot about this whole empty nest thing…the arrows are getting ready to be launched. This is an exciting time of life and though this time comes with great joy, honestly it’s tough to let go. I am going to miss the non-scheduled times of hanging out, meals together, coming home and finding them or their residue about the house…and honestly it’s not that easy.
However, Kristi and I get God’s expectation that our kids are really His. He knit them together (see Psalm 139), and our job is to raise them to love God and desire His way of life (Deuteronomy 6:5-7), making them ready to face the world and be independently dependant on God. This means at some point we launch them on to soar, because it is our desire that they soar to great heights, experiencing the full measure of life following Jesus wherever He leads them…even to Ecuador (many of you know Josh has a heart for that part of the world and we may one day see him step out onto the very mission field where Jim Elliot lost his life).
As I thought of this idea of arrows soaring, God reminded me that He, as our Heavenly Father, has that same desire for us to soar. Like the best possible parent, He is guiding us, disciplining us, repairing us, encouraging us, and training us to be the person He created us to be. But for us to soar we have to respond to and engage His participation in our lives. One verse flashed in my thoughts:
Isaiah 40:28 – 31 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Those who hope in the LORD will soar. In other words, those who trust in God’s way of life really trust in the truths of His Word the Bible, trust in His way of life to do what Jesus did, trust in giving up pride and practices, and trust God enough to listen when His Holy Spirit challenges us to action.
I know for me I can easily float through life kind of trusting in the Lord, but if I want to soar it’s going to take some crazy trust with full-blown obedience and resolve that says, “Lord whatever You want me to do, wherever You want me to go, whatever You want me to give up, I’m Yours” – soaring like on eagle’s wings.
Seeking to soar like the eagles with you,