When I tell my hair colorist that my roots need a touch-up she corrects me with this: “Trees have roots. People have re-growth.”
Here’s my spiritual take-away from this little exchange. When someone tells me I now have an empty nest, my mind goes, “Birds of the air have nests. God’s people have quivers.”
I’ve resisted assimilating the way our culture views the time of life when children leave home. According to Jesus “birds of the air have nests” (Luke 9:58). God doesn’t describe children as being raised in grassy cups. Instead He says, “Children are like arrows in the hand of a warrior,” according to Psalm 127:4. Now what a difference in imagery, huh?
God uses the subject of archery to instruct parents about the spiritual significance of the process of releasing their children into the world. He describes offspring as instruments of spiritual warfare because He desires to use them to serve and influence the next generation.
Throughout the childrearing years we partner with God to shape, sharpen and polish the arrows He entrusts to us. “Make the arrows clean and sharp!” commands Jeremiah 51:11. As the arrows take shape God begins to bend his bow and His protective quiver holding the arrows begins to rattle against Satan!
The years advance and the bow bends ever tighter still. Then one bittersweet day we hear the expert Warrior tenderly say, “I have need of your arrow.” The arrow is fit to the string and the bow is now fully bent. Then as Elisha did in 2 Kings 13:16-17 you place your hands in agreement on the strong Warrior’s hands and open the east window. And with a tear in your eye and a lump in your throat you echo what Elisha said. “Shoot!”