My children are growing up literally as I look at them.. Just yesterday, I came home to look into my 3 year old, Rachel’s eyes and saw some unknown cognition had clicked inside her. She was… older.
This morning, Daniel conveyed to me a dream he had where he and his siblings were looking for black bears to hunt down in some wooded location. Not yet five, he displays a courage and gentle fierceness often overlooked due to his tenderheartedness. As I got ready to leave for work, my own mind began to think on young David. He too chased down such animals… and I wonder if it started in his dreams as well.
Someday I shall ask him myself.
“But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God.” (1 Sam 17:34-36)
There are some very old rites of passage in some cultures. Each one of them holding to certain traditions that once completed, officially announce the passing of boy from child into manhood.
These events are specific, singular acts that can be reflected upon as one grows older. Within those cultures, there is never a question after that point in time as to whether that person is considered a “man” or not.
A certain old Indian ritual is to have a boy’s father, uncle and some older men of the tribe walk the boy deep into the woods at night, to a predetermined location where he is to sit. He is then blindfolded and told he must remain that way until he feels the morning sunlight on his face. At dawn, having braved the entire night in complete isolation, the boy returns to the village, then being introduced and forever welcomed by the community as a man.
With a final hug and reassurance, his father’s eyes are the last thing the boy sees as the cloth covers his sight. Then the branches and underbrush can be heard being crushed and snapped as the small company of men retreat back to the safety of the village, leaving the boy to his solitude.
The blindfold must never come off.
As he hears the sounds of the jungle all during the night, he must draw upon all his courage and mental fortitude. All his father’s teachings and life lessons are brought to bear on this very singular moment.
How many of those lessons were squandered? Which ones were allowed to be sown deep within the child’s heart.
Every sound seems amplified, which serves to magnify what the child is thinking, believing and drawing upon. Sleep comes to some, not so much for others. One thing is constant in every event though. As the boy, moments away from now officially becoming a man, feels the morning warmth, hears the nocturnal sounds give way to morning activity…
He lifts the blindfold…
The first thing he sees is his dad sitting directly across from him, less than a dozen feet away. His father was there the entire night, making sure he was safe. His son was never alone. Ever.
The sons and daughters of the living God walk through similar experiences that are created by the hand of our Heavenly Father. Their purpose is to allow us to draw upon all we have been taught on that subject, and galvanize it forever through our own experiential rite of passage.
“For when for the time you ought to be teachers, you have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. For every one that uses milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” Heb 5:12-14)
We are not meant to re-live the same fears, expressed in numerous and different circumstances. They are meant to be used to draw upon what we learned in the prior encounter. Disappointments, rejection, insecurity and pride. These are signal flares lighting up the darkness of the carnal mind. They are beacons, encouraging us to get away from the rocks of “dark” thinking. They let us know we are not resting in the new mind we have through the Holy Spirit living in us.
“The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.” (1 Sam 7:37)
Many of us are going through seasons of pushing through hurts, pains, and above all fear. These circumstances are intended to transition us from an aspect of spiritual immaturity to maturity. From childhood to manhood in whatever arena these trials touch. I want to remind you of two main aspects of these trials.
The first is understanding the Purpose. You are meant to enter into a deeper, richer, fuller aspect of His nature. This is the purpose of a trial. Said another way, a trial is an event or experience, singular or seasonal that is being used to refine our faith. (2 Peter 1:1-8, James 1:3) You are meant to walk in a deeper revelation of Him as a result of this trial. Do not squander it or contend with the season. Recognize it. Agree with its purpose. It is hand forged by Father out of His love for you.
The second is just as wonderful. It’s a revelation of a deep, beautiful Reality. He is with you always. When young David ran toward that Philistine, though no one saw it, David knew this already. The lion and the bear taught him this truth. David grabbed hold of it. He took possession of that reality for himself. The trials served their purpose. David had already entered into a deeper rest in his God as a result of them.
Realize this: the confrontation with Goliath was NOT a trial.
The trials were somewhere out there on that lonely grazing pasture. Somewhere between that first lion and the last bear that dared roar against a child of the living God. By the time that young boy entered the Hebrew camp and stood before King Saul, his brothers, and all the other quaking soldiers, David had already accepted the invitation, and entered into the deeper walk that was invited him through those challenges. The confrontation with the giant represented only one thing to David. A slaughter. Please, remember this.
“See, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. “ (Matt 28:20)
You are never alone.