Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. PSALM 127:4
The last three verses of Psalm 127 are some of the most precious in the Bible when it comes to thinking about our children. Barbara and I have certainly had a "quiver" full with our six (see verse 5). But part of the reward God talks about in this passage comes with responsibility—the responsibility to launch our children into adulthood at the appropriate time.
If you've done any archery or bow hunting, you know that the moment you make your release, two things happen: (1) the arrow whips off the bow, and (2) you experience "string slap" as the bowstring smacks against your forearm. Man, it can hurt—the same way the flight of your grown children can ache in your heart.
But there is purpose to this pain. There is a reason for this release. I'm reminded of what Jim Elliot wrote to his parents after informing them that he was being called by God to the jungles of Ecuador as a missionary. Like any parents, Jim's folks wished for him safety and security, a steady income beneath his feet and a roof over his head. But he said to them: Remember how the Psalmist described children? He said they were a heritage from the Lord, that every man should be happy who had his quiver full of them. And what is a quiver full of but arrows? And what are arrows for but to shoot? So with the strong arms of prayer, draw the bowstring back and let the arrows fly—all of them, straight at the enemy's hosts!
No, it's not an easy process. You could wish these years didn't have to come so soon. But by releasing your children purposefully into adulthood—with a biblical sense of mission—you place them under the care of the Holy Spirit, helping them learn to be independently dependent upon Him, becoming the young men and women He wants them to be.
What do you see as your children's purpose? What are you preparing them for?
Trust God's ability to give you what you need, when you need it.