Becoming God’s Arrow: Straightening the Branch

By Cheryl Schang,
JVMI’s Vice President of Global Outreach

One of the most painful experiences in becoming God’s arrow can be this next step in the process. It’s when the crooked things in us are made straight through heat and pressure. It’s key that during this process we do not give in to a spirit of bitterness.

Have you ever seen a really straight branch? No. It has curves in it and it is just not fit to be an arrow. So the arrow maker puts the branch in a tray and then pours hot water over the branch.

The temperature has to be just right. The timing has to be just right. When those conditions are met, that bark slowly yields and it reveals the white wood underneath. If you pour the hot water too fast or if the hot water is too hot, the branch is ruined. If you do it too slowly, the branch gets mushy and it is spoiled. So it has to be just the right amount of heat and just the right amount of pressure for just the right amount of time so that you get this fabulous, white, straight piece of wood.

Learn from Your Wood Tray Experience

Hebrews says that when you go through this time of chastening and reworking, don’t faint. Don’t shrug it off, either.  Figure out what you are supposed to learn in this season. Ask the Lord, “What am I supposed to learn? Tell me what I am doing wrong. Show me what I need to do quickly. I don’t want to go around this mountain several times.”

You are being made into an arrow, and this pressure is for a reason. You are being reshaped. Ask the Lord, “What’s the new shape I am supposed to take?” If you do that, it will go more quickly.

Also, don’t let a root of bitterness spring up, because when you are going through the pressure, it’s for a purpose. You’ve got a choice. You can accept the grace that is available or you can get bitter. If you get bitter, you are spoiled.

Grace Instead of Bitterness

I think of a woman missionary from Burundi. She was a midwife living during the civil war between the Hutus and the Tutsis. Right in the middle of this massacre, she was planting churches.

One day a bunch of young men with guns came in and asked her for money. She gave them what she had, but they thought she had more money, so they had her down on her knees in the execution position. They were going to kill her for this money.

All of a sudden she heard a gunshot outside where some of her little children were playing. She pushed these guys aside and went running out to check on her kids. It was a neighbor who saw what was happening who had fired this gunshot.

People later asked her, “How can you take this?” She said, “Every day I have to decide at whose table I am going to eat. Will I eat at the table of the Lord? Will I find grace, or will I get bitter?”

None of us have it that bad. Obtaining grace is a choice. Not getting bitter is a choice. The Christian life isn’t automatic; you have to choose. You have a choice about how you feel in each situation. You can choose the grace, or you can choose bitterness. Paul said to choose the grace.

This series is based on a sermon by Terry Virgo.

Go to Jewish Voice Ministries International online.

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