In their book, "The Sacred Romance", Brent Curtis and John Eldredge talk about arrows in our heart that cause pain and are a part of our journey of growing into the people we are. An arrow of an abusive parent that sometimes shapes a young child into an abusive adult. The arrows of withheld love that tells a teenager that he or she will never be good enough and so they look for fulfillment in worldly avenues. There are even arrows we inflict on ourselves; arrows of poor self image or low self esteem that constantly finds ourselves pitting and comparing our lives to others who seem to have it all together.
Of all the arrows that pierce the deepest are the arrows that come from the ones we love the closest. I think of King David in the Bible in relation to his son Absalom. David loved Absalom with a father's heart. Even when Absalom brutally murdered his brother Adonijah, David's love for Absalom stayed true. When David fully restated Absalom to his place of sonship, Absalom took advantage and leveraged everything he had to dethrone and even have his father murdered. David's love for Absalom was only equalled by Absalom's deep craving for power and taking by force everything that belonged to his father. Yet, even when it was all over the the young man Absalom lay dead, David cried out, "My son Absalom!...If only I had died instead of you..."
It is easy to recognize the "arrows" that come from our enemies. David could tell the difference between a Philistine and an Amorite arrow, I am sure. What trips us up is when the arrows come from those we love the most. An unkind word. A betrayal. An intentional plot to take us down.
Fortunately, for the most part, few of us have to experience the deep arrow of betrayal such as an Absalom with his father David. But even the smaller arrows can be hurtful and cause deep wounds that may take years to heal.
* A colleague who puts us down in some way in order to build himself/herself up in the eyes of others
* A confidence shared with a friend broadcast for the world to see
* A word of criticism from a loved one when a word of encouragement is what is needed
These seem like small things and maybe they are but when these particular arrows come from those who are supposed to be watching our backs, it can be discouraging and even crippling.
What are some of the arrows of affliction that God is bringing to your mind right now? How do we allow Him to take those arrows of pain and turn them into something good like a life-lesson? How do those arrows become building blocks for us to become more conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus?
I am tempted to think that all of the arrows in my heart are "about" me. Sometimes I need to realize that they might just be "for" me in order to make me more like Jesus.