Friday, July 26, 2013

On Target





I hurt in many places today. My forearm took a particular beating until I figured out how to turn my elbow down so that my arm didn't get thwacked by the very taut and accelerating string of the bow. There is already a lovely multicolored welt on it. Tomorrow I imagine it will be even more resplendent.

Still, I have decided that I want a bow and arrow set. This fun day all came about because Asherel and I got a Groupon Coupon for an archery lesson and range time for two. Since she had always wanted to try archery, and I am always game for new activities, we went yesterday to redeem our coupon.

There were three other kids and a couple of adults. Right after the lesson began, the pre-teen boy on the end of our line keeled over, right on top of all the bows. It looked like perhaps a seizure, but very definitely loss of consciousness. Who knew Archery could be dangerous even before shooting a single arrow? The two adults carried him to a chair where he came to, wondering what he was doing there. He admitted he had not had breakfast or any water that morning. The group leader brought him a sugary drink, and as he downed that, the instructor, shaking his head, went on with his lesson.

I was the only lefty in the group. (By that, I mean handedness, not political persuasion.) Thus, I had a special bow, and I had to reverse everything the instructor showed us. I honestly do not know why in this world of special interest legislation and treatment that I do not get some special stipend and sticker for my car. You right handed people cannot imagine how much harder life is for a minority group like us lefties. It took me at least 5 minutes just to figure out which way was up on the bow. I had to reverse everything the instructor was telling everyone.

Other than the painful thwacking of my forearm, it was great fun. One of our targets was a cluster of balloons. When everyone else was done shooting all 6 of their balloons, I had 5 left. (Again, I believe this is because I am left handed. It could not be because I am a hopeless klutz, contrary to what my oldest sister told me throughout my vulnerable childhood years.)Then they brought out the animal pictures for us to shoot at. I didn't really want to do that at all. However, I managed to shoot all three of my animals right in the heart.

By the end of our class, my shoulder and neck muscles ached and my bruised forearm felt a little broken. But it was worth it. We just have to figure out which neighbor would be ok with us pointing our arrows their way when we get our archery set....

Our instructor told us about a famous archer who used to shoot arrows at the cowboys on the old Westerns on TV. The actors wore steel vests under their shirt, but no other armor. The archer was so good that he could shoot the arrows at them while they were galloping by on a horse, and hit only the vest, no other vital part!
"Now that's trust!" said the instructor.
Well, it sure is, I agreed, but instantly I also thought of how people will put their trust in fallible people so easily...but struggle so much to put their trust in an infallible God. And then when those fallible people fail them, who so often gets blamed? Right. The infallible God who is the only one they should have trusted in the first place.

The instructor also told us that the bow was a machine. Like any machine, if you tell it to do something exactly correctly each time, it will always do it. If you are off at all, such as gripping the bow too tightly and thus subtly rotating it, the arrow will enter the target at an angle, not straight and true.
"The arrow will tell on you every time!" said the instructor,"The arrow never lies."

This is what I need in every portion of life! I need an arrow that will make it obvious when I am on the right trajectory, or when I need to make subtle adjustments. I would prefer a less public proof of when my aim is not accurate, but the instant, incontrovertible feedback of an arrow, true and on-target....or not....seems a helpful aid to those who really want to be better.

However, in a sense, I do have such an arrow....in fact...I AM that arrow. Interestingly, the Bible offers that lovely symbol. The book of Isaiah tells me that I am part of a whole quiver of arrows in God's arsenal. I am afraid that too often I faint before He has even strung the bow, just like the boy who skipped breakfast, but that is not what God desires of me. He would have me always pointing at the target He has set for me, and His aim is always perfect. I just need to trust Him; because if I let Him place me exactly as He desires in the bow, He supplies the power that will insure I reach the target, flying much further than I could ever hope to do on my own. And when I fly straight and true, I serve God and pierce the Darkness.

Oh! To be such an arrow, that never lies and is always on target!

*************************
Listen, far-flung islands, pay attention, faraway people: God put me to work from the day I was born. The moment I entered the world he named me. He gave me speech that would cut and penetrate. He kept his hand on me to protect me. He made me his straight arrow and hid me in his quiver. He said to me, “You’re my dear servant, Israel, through whom I’ll shine.” (Isaiah 49:1-3 MSG)



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