We find them everywhere: throw pillows, bags, journal covers, and more.
However, the arrow is not merely a trendy decorative touch.
In reality, the arrow is a symbol of courage, war, protection, or provision.
In Psalm 127, the arrow is referring to our children.
Devotions at baby showers are given with this in mind, congratulatory cards to new parents are written about it, and messages at baby dedications are based around it.
The lessons usually begin and end with the arrow, but when we dive deeper, we find more: the bow, the quiver, and the warrior that holds it all.
Each of these items imply a battle and we are reminded that, as we are raising our children in righteousness amongst a world that is departing rapidly from truth, we are in a battle and the hearts and minds of our children are under attack.
We must look not just at the arrow, but beyond it as well.
As we understand the mechanics and the process of archery, we begin to understand the depth of this verse and the great privilege, blessing, and responsibility of our call as warrior-parents.
“Be careful with your arrows.” I often hear my husband say to my kids when they are out shooting.
Why? Because his arrows are of high value; a costly investment that he needs to treat with respect and proper care.
He understands the composition of a good arrow and that, in order to fly straight, the arrow needs to be strong and the spine must be rigid. He has taken careful time to prepare the arrows and heads.
The arrow will eventually make an impact, and it needs to be kept in the right condition when that time comes, so that it can do the job it it was meant to do, and not be damaged in the process.
In the same way, with our children, we must see their value and invest in them. Mold them and shape them.
We must understand their great potential but also realize their fragility.
We must acknowledge that their strength is of upmost importance and their condition, when it comes time to fly, has great potential to make an impact in the battle.
Psalm 127 tells us ‘blessed is that man whose quiver is full.’
We are shown in this verse where our arrows are to be stored: not our shelves and drawers but our quivers.
A quiver is a place where arrows are kept until they are ready to launch, worn on the archer’s body; secured tightly to him.
This is to keep the arrows safe, dry, and out of harm’s way so they don’t get damaged; guarded from getting stepped on and left out in the elements.
The arrows are to be protected and kept set apart until they are ready to be released.
The arrows are to be kept close in order to protect them, in order to ensure they can fly straight when the time comes.
An arrowhead can be dangerous when not in its proper place, when it is not being guided by the archer, when it is not ready to fly; it can damage and be damaged.
As with our children, they are to be held close to us, to care for and protect, until the time comes when they are released.
We are not to leave our children ‘out in the elements’ where they can get stepped on, beat up or have their fragility impacted by the world. We are to guard them close to us until it is time to send them out, so they will be strong enough to handle the release.
These arrows God gave us are to be placed in our quivers; our care and our protection. They are to remain close to us as we keep our eye on the target, prepare our weapons, and take our aim in order to release them, when ready.
THE ARCHER and THE BOW
When I watch my husband train with his bow I ponder Psalm 127:4 even deeper.
I observe as he knocks an arrow, draws back and releases.
I notice the calculated motions, the detailed procedure and the position from where the arrow comes.
I note how the entire process is as much about the archer and how he handles the bow as it is about the arrow.
The weapon is an extension of himself and that is where the release of the shot lies.
His eyes remain on the objective and the arrow flies along the path between the warrior and the mark.
It is critical that the archer is focused, intentional, and has a plan, and the bow is properly set up and aligned.
As parents, we so often overlook this. We seem to put all our focus on our ‘arrows’ and we forget that the bow must be strong, stable, and set up to release the arrow in order for it to make the proper impact.
It is as much about the archer, the aim, and the strength behind the draw as it is about the arrow.
We must ensure that we are on target and have committed ourselves to the task at hand. We must make sure we are doing what we are called as parents-
teaching and training our children with intentionality.
Any archer knows that his form is critical.
His stance is the base that all things hinge from.
A great shot starts with the foundation a shooter establishes.
No matter how straight and perfectly protected an arrow is, if it is placed in the hands of a shaky and unsteady archer it will not launch properly. The arrow must be held steady, suspended in the arms of a warrior that is standing on a strong and grounded foundation. The stance an archer takes must be rooted in order to hold the bow steady, which determines the course the arrow flies.
No matter how great of a warrior we may be, no matter the quality of our arrows, they will not shoot properly unless we have a foundation and a grounding; a proper stance.
Without our foundation in Christ, we will be shaken, we will be moved, we will not be able to hold steady enough to shoot our arrows straight along the path set out for them. All our gifts, talents and passions, even our love for our children will amount to nothing if we are not properly grounded in Him.
Just as the bow is an extension of the archer, we must also be the extension of Christ. Our strength must come from Him to be effective as we guide our children.
Our eyes must be on Christ so that He can be the driving force behind the release.
‘Know your target.’
This is a saying very common in the shooting world. This ensures safety and often success.
A very experienced shooter can shoot a very straight arrow and center-punch a very wrong target if not properly aligned.
It is imperative to know your target and to align yourself to it.
We must keep our sites on the target if the arrow is to stand a chance at hitting it.
It is not the arrow that points itself at the mark. It is the job of the archer to know the target and direct the arrow towards it.
An arrow was never made to determine its own course, but to fly along the path set out before it.
As parents our target is Christ. That is what we are aiming our children towards. This is why we spend the time and energy we do building our foundation, protecting our arrows, and aligning our sites.
All of the preparation, protection, grounding, aiming, and the draw culminate in one moment: the release.
The purpose of the release is impact.
Once drawn from the quiver, nocked and released, the archer must follow-through.
The arrow may have to travel thought brush, rain or wind before impact, but the warrior has stood strong, fought the hard fight, and now stands in prayer as the arrow flies.
These children are not our own. We are called to be diligent in the job our God has called us to, but ultimately, He stands in control.
There may be deflections, there may even be hard misses, but we serve a God that is faithful to those who love Him.
So, parents, let us strap on our quiver, place our arrows in it, stand on an unshakable foundation, lock onto our target, and when it is time, let us praise His name in the release.
For this is His plan for us.