Bent of the Arrow
It was a snowy, blustery day years ago when I heard someone speak on the radio about Proverbs 22:6. As I drove home from the market that day, I vividly remember grabbing my grocery list and frantically juggling my pen and steering wheel as I began jotting down the treasure of wisdom that I was hearing. It was so very compelling. It seemed so urgent.
It felt like God was bending down to me, saying, “Listen up…I have given you four sons to steward for but a brief moment in time. Be still and listen to my wisdom.” I pulled my mom-van over and listened…
I had always heard Proverbs 22:6 in light of a promise. That if you trained up a child in righteousness, he would not depart from it when he became old. The speaker, however, emphasized a small word that changed the entire meaning, and subsequently the entire trajectory of our parenting from that point forward. He said, “Train up a child in the way he should go [in keeping with his individual gift/talent/passion or bent] and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
Wow…I had never thought about that. I had read that verse on many occasions, but felt like I had suddenly stumbled upon an invaluable treasure-trove of wisdom in that simple little word, “he”…to train up my sons in the way each individual son should go…what does THAT look like?
The speaker went on to reference Psalm127:3-5, likening our sons and daughters to arrows. He said, "Dad and Mom, your ‘Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. 4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one's youth.’ Do you know this?”
He continued to explain that the dictionary defines “arrow” as a missive weapon of offense, straight, slender, pointed and barbed, to be shot with a bow. In the days of old, each arrow had a particular bent; they weren’t perfectly straight like the factory-made ones of today. Therefore, in order to hit the target with an arrow slightly bent to the left, an experienced archer would know to aim his arrow somewhat to the right of the target so that he might strike it dead center.
“Dad & Mom”, he challenged, “what is the bent of your arrow?” The target is always the same, bringing glory to our heavenly Father, but the approach is different for all. What is the specific bent God has placed within your young arrow so they might go out and hit the target of revealing his invisible and incredible glory to a watching world?
It was at that point that my husband and I realized the brevity of the brief moments we had left with our four sons; that our sons were stewarded to us for but a moment. As a steward of these future husbands, these future fathers, the weighty responsibility to discover, develop and polish that gem that God placed within them, that facet of His mighty and flawless character, suddenly became vitally important. “Oh Lord”, we prayed, “restore intentionality in our family. Oh, God, direct our steps so that our sons might be ready and prepared to reveal your amazing character through the path You have chosen!”
It is for this reason that my husband and I joined a few other mission-minded souls to found a leadership academy called, Legacy Community Academy. It was during the launch of the academy that I penned this memory...
It has been and will continue to be my prayer that our prayer listed above, would become the prayer of many parents…
It is my prayer that parents would embrace the position they have been entrusted with and choose to engage in the process of discovering “the bent” of their student. I believe that God intends to use this bent to impact a particular sphere of influence, thus revealing His invisible yet magnificent character to a watching world.
And lastly, it is my prayer that this intentional desire to know our children would become front and center in our nation so that parents might seek to intentionally train up their arrows in the way they should go.
Ephesians 2:10; Isaiah 43:7; John 17:9-10